Marilyn Manson Sees Judge Gut Rockers Defamation Case Against Evan Rachel Wood Over Abuse Allegations

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson just got a legal shock as a California judge tossed out most of the fading musician’s defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood over the Westworld actress’ claims of abuse during the former couple’s relationship.

“The Court grants Wood’s special motion to strike in part,” wrote , LA Superior Court Judge Teresa A. Beaudet Tuesday in a multi-pronged tentative order that has just become final (read it here).

Emphasizing the Golden State’s anti-SLAPP statute and its protect of individual free speech, Judge Beaudet took a lot of the guts out of Manson a.k.a. Brian Warner’s suit of March 2022. While Manson’s case can proceed on the remaining counts, the big-ticket items are pretty much dead, at least for now. Among the claims now out of the suit are Manson and his lawyers attempts to taint Wood with penning a fictitious FBI letter and preparing a checklist of sorts for alleged Manson victims to draw from.  

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“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling, which affirms and protects Evan’s exercise of her fundamental First Amendment rights,” Wood’s lead attorney Michael Kump told Deadline after the order out of a hearing today was finalized. “As the Court correctly found, Plaintiff failed to show that his claims against her have even minimal merit.”

Suffering a second successive loss in the case, Manson’s team had their own take on the judge’s decision, and how they aim to take another swing.

“The ruling is disappointing but not unexpected. The Court telegraphed this outcome when it refused to consider the bombshell sworn declaration of former plaintiff Ashley Smithline, which detailed how women were systematically pressured by Evan Rachel Wood and Illma Gore to make false claims about Brian Warner,” declared Manson lawyer Howard King this afternoon.

“The failure to admit this critical evidence, along with the Court’s decision to not consider Ms. Gore’s iPad, the contents of which demonstrated how she and Ms. Wood crafted a forged FBI letter, will be the subject of an immediate appeal to the California Court of Appeal,” he added.

Manson’s suit came a year after Wood herself took to social media in 2021 to publicly named her ex-fiancée for a pattern of “horrifically” abusing and “grooming” her during the duo’s 2007 to 2010 relationship. The now 35-year-old Wood was 16 when she and Manson became a couple. In 2017, Wood told a Congressional committee that she had been raped and repeatedly abused but did not actually give a name of who the alleged predator was.

Dropped by his record label and losing TV gigs and CAA representation in short order after Wood named Manson, the singer said the claims were “horrible distortions of reality.” In the following weeks and months number of others, like Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco came forward with allegations and lawsuits of their own detailing physical and psychological abuse by Manson.

A number of cases and claims against Manson have been settled, dismissed, as was the true of Smithline’s efforts, or dropped in the past year or so. For instance, Bianco ceased her nearly two-year long sexual assault and sexual battery case against Manson in February 2022 after the parties reached a confidential settlement.

At the core of Manson’s now mainly neutered suit against Wood is Phoenix Rising. The two-part documentary on the singer and his supposed cycles of abuse and violence premiered at the virtual 2022 Sundance Film Festival. A couple months later, the Amy Berg film debuted on HBO – even after Manson tried to move legal Heaven and Earth to stop it

In February 2021, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau opened a probe into multiple abuse allegations that occurred between 2009-2011, when Manson lived in West Hollywood. A portion of that investigation was submitted to LA County D.A. George Gascón.

No action has been taken by the DA’s office as of yet in what I understand is an on-going probe.

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