An anonymous woman who claimed Bob Dylan sexually abused her as a child in 1965 has permanently withdrawn her lawsuit, a day after Dylan’s lawyers accused her of destroying key evidence and ‘irretrievably’ compromising the integrity of the case.
In a lawsuit filed last year, the woman alleged Dylan assaulted her for six weeks in 1965, leaving her “emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged”. The artist’s attorneys were quick to call the case “false, malicious, reckless and defamatory” and a “brazen circumvention disguised as a lawsuit.”
But during a hearing Thursday, July 28, the plaintiff — identified only as JC — suddenly asked the federal judge hearing the case to dismiss it “with prejudice,” meaning it will be permanently closed and cannot be reclassified. The move came after she was accused of deleting key posts and threatened with financial penalties.
“This case is over. It’s outrageous that it was ever introduced in the first place,” Dylan’s lead attorney said. Orin Snyder of the law firm Gibson Dunn, in a statement to Billboard. “We are pleased that the plaintiff has abandoned this sham attorney and the case has been dismissed with prejudice.”
JC’s attorneys did not immediately return a request for comment.
The unnamed woman claimed Dylan repeatedly sexually assaulted her at Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel in April and May 1965. She said he supplied her with drugs and alcohol and ‘exploited’ her status as a musician as part of a plan to “sexually assault him”. .” Such allegations would generally be barred by the statute of limitations, but the case against Dylan was filed just before the close of a one-year window under a recent New York law that allowed former victims to sue. their alleged attackers.
Rock historians and Dylan experts were quick to cast doubt on the claims, saying they appeared to be refuted by historical documents showing Dylan was absent from New York for most of April and May 1965. The Accuser later filed an updated version of the lawsuit, claiming the abuse instead took place over “several months in the spring of 1965”.
Thursday’s abrupt dismissal came amid growing chaos in the case, including stern warnings from a judge about potential penalties, the sudden departure of the accuser’s lawyers and, this week, explosive charges from Dylan’s camp that she deleted key text messages and emails.
During a hearing on July 15, Judge Katherine Polk Failla said Dylan’s lawyer, Snyder, alerted her that the accuser had not delivered the emails and text messages by the deadlines set by the tribunal. According to a report by Law360, she warned the accuser’s lawyers that they could face serious penalties if they did not comply quickly: “For the love of God, produce these documents,” the judge told the lawyers of the ‘accuser. “You understand the consequences if you don’t.”
A few days later, attorneys for the accuser informed the judge that they had been dismissed from the case. The attorneys – Daniel W. Isaacs and Peter J. Gleason – said they had been “released by the plaintiff as attorneys” but offered no explanation for their termination. Dylan’s attorneys were quick to criticize the move, saying it appeared to be “designed to evade court-ordered document production obligations and the threat of penalties.”
Then on Wednesday, the conspiracy thickened: Snyder and Dylan’s legal team sent a letter to Judge Polk informing him that the accuser had still not produced “dozens of critical emails that we know were exist”, even after the threat of sanctions. They said it included key messages in which she discussed and “questioned” the main allegations of the lawsuit.
Even more serious than a missed deadline, Snyder told the judge that the messages in question were likely destroyed by the accuser — a massive breach of procedural rules anyway.
Dylan’s lawyers told the judge that the evidence “strongly suggests that the plaintiff destroyed evidence directly relevant to the central factual allegations in this litigation, and that the evidence could be lost forever. This would mean that the plaintiff will never be in able to comply with its discovery obligations and that the integrity of these proceedings and the defendant’s ability to mount a fair defense have been irreparably compromised.”
The letter asked for “case ending penalties and monetary penalties,” and said the matter would be addressed at a hearing on Thursday.