ST. LOUIS – Michael Goguen, the controversial Silicon Valley donor to gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens, has sued Greitens’ rival John Brunner for defamation after Brunner accused Goguen of owning a sex slave.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Goguen’s lawyers acted after Brunner made mention of Goguen during a recent gubernatorial debate.
“Mr. Brunner has knowingly and maliciously spread demonstrable lies about Mr. Goguen, falsely accused him of heinous acts and crimes, and defamed him simply because he donated money to one of Mr. Brunner’s political opponents,” the lawsuit says. “Mr. Brunner also refused to correct his falsehoods even when notified of them and given an opportunity to correct the record. Mr. Brunner’s sustained and unfounded attacks on Mr. Goguen have caused significant and distinct harm to Mr. Goguen’s reputation and he has sustained actual damages as a result.”
Greitens came under fire in March when news came out that Goguen was facing a civil suit from a woman named Amber Baptiste, who claims she was a victim of sex trafficking. She alleged that Goguen promised to rescue her from the people who prostituted her, while beginning a sexual relationship with her. She says physically and sexually abused her as their relationship became non-consensual over the course of 13 years, and that she required medical treatment both for Goguen’s transmission of HPV to her and for emergency surgery she received for a “ruptured anal canal” after a sexual episode.
The lawsuit, which can be read here, says that Goguen signed a contract to pay her $40 million as compensation for the years of abuse, but has since only paid her $10 million.
The litigation is currently pending, but the three other Republican gubernatorial candidates were quick to condemn Greitens for accepting money from Goguen and then refusing to return the $1 million Goguen had contributed to Greitens’ campaign.
Goguen was also removed from his role as a partner at the Sequoia Capital hedge fund.
The lawsuit brushes off these allegations and presents Baptiste as a mentally unstable individual. It also established that the funds spent by Goguen at a public relations firm were a form of monetary damage in addition to the harm his reputation has suffered.
Gregg Keller, a spokesman for the Brunner campaign, said the lawsuit was a distraction and an attempt by one of Greitens’ top donors to further influence the upcoming Aug. 2 primary.
“This is a desperate attempt by Eric Greitens’ California political benefactor and friend to take attention off of what Missourians are coming to know: Eric Greitens is a lifelong liberal Democrat who drove cross-country to cheer Barack Obama at his Convention and supported Obama’s failed $831 billion ‘stimulus’ and is now attempting to convince Missouri Republicans he’s one of them,” Keller said.
UPDATE – 4:05 p.m., July 27: Clarified the conditions of the settlement and relationship between Goguen and Baptiste after reviewing Baptiste’s lawsuit against Goguen.