Brett Ratner's Lawyers Ask Judge for Permission to Question Rape Accuser

Illustration for article titled Brett Ratner's Lawyers Ask Judge for Permission to Question Rape Accuser
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On Wednesday, Variety reported that director-producer Brett Ratner’s legal team asked a judge for permission to question Melanie Kohler, who accused Ratner of rape in a recent, since-deleted Facebook post.

Shortly after six women accused Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct in a Los Angeles Times for a report published on November 1, Variety obtained the Facebook post that Kohler had written on October 20 in which she claimed that Ratner had “preyed” on her while she was intoxicated at a club and raped her in 2004 or 2005. Ratner filed a defamation suit against Kohler in a federal court in Hawaii just after the LA Times article surfaced.

On February 8, a judge declined to do away with the libel suit against Kohler, who is now, according to Variety, trying to get the case dismissed under Califoria’s anti-SLAPP law.


Ratner’s lawyers are arguing that they need Kohler’s deposition in order to help prove the case they are trying to make, which is that she has given inconsistent testimony. The lawyers wrote in their appeal to the judge that to this effect they wish to ask Kohler about “the full details of her alleged interactions with Mr. Ratner because such discovery would allow Mr. Ratner to show by direct and circumstantial evidence that Defendant’s assault allegation was false, and that she knew it was false when she made it.”

Kohler’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan told Variety, “We think Mr. Ratner’s requests are unduly burdensome and look forward to these issues being discussed in court.”

contributing writer, nights

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Unless I’m missing something, how would Kohler get out of this? Depositions of the defendant are rather standard in civil suits. I can’t think of any rule of evidence which would shield her here. The FRE limits the admissibility of evidence in matters alleging sexual misconduct, but that is limited to only sexual predisposition and similar acts. And it’s also limited to admissibility. Depositions often go after testimony that is inadmissible purportedly to find admissible evidence. But then again, party depositions are generally taken without leave, so the fact that Ratner is asking the court’s permission is weird too.

And I’m also weirded out about why California’s anti-SLAPP statute would apply to a case filed in Hawaii.

Basically, I really, really want to know the in depth procedural history of this case now.