By Bob Norman, FloridaBulldog.org
Miami Herald journalist and author Julie K. Brown has been widely lauded for her reporting on billionaire sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, which created a media frenzy and led to a million dollar book contract.
But now Brown is being sued for defamation by two Epstein victims that she has been credited for championing.
Courtney Wild and Haley Robson, who were both underaged victims of Epstein’s abuse and who played prominent roles in the case, allege Brown defamed them in her recently published book, Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story. Contained in the lawsuit are allegations that Brown falsely wrote that Wild was raped by Epstein and had sex with him afterward and that Brown had threatened Robson when she refused to participate in her book.
“Brown falsely stated that Ms. Wild was raped by Epstein and then had sex with Epstein multiple times after the rape. Neither is true,” wrote Miami attorney Jeffrey Guchess, who filed the complaint Thursday on behalf of Wild and Robson. “More egregiously, when Robson refused to sit for an interview for the book, Brown threatened her, saying her refusal would be the ‘biggest mistake of your life.’”
The eight-page lawsuit alleges that Brown “fulfilled her threat” against Robson in the book, portraying her “not as the teenage victim she was, no different than dozens of other victims, but rather as a mini-Ghislaine Maxwell and a member of Epstein’s inner circle, despite knowing that to be a false narrative.
“Brown’s libelous attacks on these two victims will have lasting effects as both have children and family members who will suffer regular attacks by those in the community who read or hear of these defamatory statements.”
Brown, who received a million-dollar advance from HarperCollins for the book, texted Florida Bulldog Thursday that she was traveling and had not seen the lawsuit yet.
“I’ve put in a call to my lawyer & will have to get back to you,” Brown texted.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST BROWN
The lawsuit alleges Brown mischaracterized Robson in the book as punishment for her refusal to participate in it.
“With the publication of Perversion of Justice, Ms. Brown carried out her threat by characterizing Ms. Robson not as a victim but rather as an eager participate and co-conspirator in Epstein’s crimes,” Guchess writes. “She wrote repeatedly that Robson was ‘working’ for Epstein, that Robson viewed Epstein as her ‘boss’ and was a member of Epstein’s inner circle of associates who was ‘giddy with excitement’ to participate in his scheme.”
The portrayal “constitutes a gross misrepresentation of the sexual and mental abuse and manipulation suffered by Robson as one of Epstein’s victims,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges that Brown sought to “debase” Wild in a bid to take credit for the latter’s extensive efforts to bring Epstein to justice before he hanged himself in jail in 2019. Wild was a key participant in Brown’s Miami Herald newspaper series in November 2018 that led to a media frenzy about the case.
Wild spent years trying to expose the highly criticized federal plea agreement between Epstein and the federal government, according to the lawsuit, urging authorities to again charge Epstein, provide compensation for his victims and assist them in obtaining settlements.
“Knowing Ms. Wild had spearheaded each of these major achievements, and not Ms. Brown as she claimed in her book, Ms. Brown sought to debase and defame Ms. Wild,” Guchess wrote in the complaint.
PUBLIC APOLOGY DEMANDED
The lawsuit alleges Brown mischaracterized the sexual abuse Wild suffered at Epstein’s hands. In the book, she wrote that Wild “told the FBI the times that she had sex with him when she was underage” and that Epstein had “raped” her and that ultimately she “didn’t have to do the sex anymore,” the lawsuit quotes.
“In fact, Ms. Wild never had sexual intercourse with Epstein and was never raped by Epstein,” Guchess wrote.
The lawsuit alleges that Brown knew her characterizations of Wild and Robson were false based on previous interviews with both and her own research and that Brown’s “primary intention” was “harming Ms. Wild and Ms. Robson for vindictive and other malicious reasons.”
“Because of these statements, Ms. Wild and Ms. Robson’s mental anguish and suffering were exacerbated, and their mental health was affected as a result of being re-victimized by Defendant after years of trauma due to Epstein’s abuse and collusion with the government that ultimately failed to bring him to justice,” the lawsuit alleges.
Wild and Robson are seeking a public apology from Brown and unspecified financial damages.