By Marc Hogan.
The legal battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke has entangled one of her most vocal supporters. Court documents obtained by Pitchfork show that Dr. Luke’s lawyers have taken steps to subpoena Michael Eisele, a fan and “#FreeKesha” protest organizer, for allegedly "closely coordinating" with Kesha's camp to spread "defamatory statements and tarnish [Dr. Luke]’s reputation." Dr. Luke (Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald) and Kesha (Kesha Rose Sebert) have been fighting in New York court since 2014, when the producer sued the singer for defamation and she countersued based on her assertions of rape and other abuse. The latest subpoena, if ordered by the judge, would force Eisele to testify under questioning by Dr. Luke’s lawyers.
Attorneys for Dr. Luke wrote:
Plaintiffs allege that Ms. Sebert and her representatives closely coordinated with Mr. Eisele to spread Ms. Sebert's defamatory statements and tarnish Plaintiffs’ reputation. Plaintiffs further allege that Ms. Sebert, individually and through her representatives, has breached her contracts with Plaintiffs by, inter alia, encouraging and assisting Mr. Eisele in creating bogus Internet “petitions“ and in engaging in other tactics to pressure Sony Music Entertainment to terminate its business with Plaintiffs.
As such, Plaintiffs believe that Mr. Eisele has information that is material and necessary to the prosecution of this action and is not reasonably available from any of the parties.
Lawyers for Dr. Luke and Kesha have not responded to Pitchfork’s requests for comment, nor did Eisele.
Last year, Eisele co-authored an online “#FreeKesha” petition that garnered more than 230,000 signatures. He also organized two pro-Kesha rallies outside the New York headquarters of Sony Music, parent company of Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records. According to The Guardian, Eisele also runs the @KeshaTODAY Twitter account.
Recent weeks in the Kesha-Dr. Luke case have been eventful as the matter heads toward trial. In February, both the singer and the producer were scheduled to give testimony under oath. Their legal teams also filed competing email evidence, supporting and countering Kesha’s assertions of emotional abuse. In January, Dr. Luke claimed Kesha sent Lady Gaga text messages last winter saying Luke raped both Kesha and another female recording artist.
The next court appearance in the case is a phone conference scheduled for April 14.
Last May, Kesha reshuffled her legal team. That followed the New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich dismissing most of the singer’s counterclaims against Dr. Luke. Previously, Kornreich denied Kesha a preliminary injunction that would have allowed her to sign to a label other than Dr. Luke's Kemosabe while the case was underway; Kesha has appealed. Kesha has dropped her 2014 California lawsuit against Dr. Luke, which originally raised the rape and abuse assertions. Dr. Luke has separately been suing Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert, for libel in Tennessee. In February, according to court document viewed by Pitchfork, lawyers for both Dr. Luke and Sebert asked the judge for a settlement conference.
This story originally appeared on Pitchfork.
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