A federal jury on Friday found Rolling Stone magazine liable of defaming a University of Virginia administrator by publishing a story it later retracted about an alleged gang rape at the school, Reuters reports.The decision followed a three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the administrator, Nicole Eramo, sued the magazine, owner Wenner Media and reporter Sabrina Erdely for $7.9 million. The jury returns on Monday to determine damages in the case.
Erdely was found liable of actual malice, a key element in libel law, in six statements in the November 2014 story, "A Rape on Campus." Rolling Stone and Wenner Media were each found liable of actual malice in three statements, according to court documents.
To prove defamation, it must be shown that a media organisation published what it knew to be false, or did so with reckless disregard for the truth.
The magazine had reported that a female student identified only as "Jackie" was raped at a university fraternity in 2012. The story sparked a national debate about sexual assault on U.S. campuses.
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