Music

Judge Dismisses One of Marilyn Manson’s Sexual Abuse Lawsuits


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A federal judge has tossed out a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Marilyn Manson by model Ashley Morgan Smithline, citing the fact that she failed to retain a new lawyer after splitting with her old legal team last fall.

Smithline’s lawsuit, one of many claims of sexual abuse filed against Manson (real name Brian Warner) over the past two years, alleged that the rocker raped and abused her multiple times between 2010 and 2013. But in an order issued Tuesday (Jan. 3), Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha dismissed the case.

The reason? After Smithline split with her attorney Jay D. Ellwanger in October, the judge gave her until Dec. 5 to find a new lawyer — or to explain how she’d handle the case on her own as a so-called pro se litigant. She never did either, leading to Tuesday’s decision.

“Plaintiff has not filed a response as of the date of this order,” the judge wrote. “The court, therefore, dismisses this action … for plaintiffs failure to prosecute the action.”

The case was dismissed “without prejudice” — meaning Smithline could still refile the same claims at some point in the future. She could not immediately be located for comment; Ellwanger did not return a request for comment.

In a statement to Billboard, Manson’s attorney Howard King praised the outcome: “We thank and commend Ashley Smithline for dismissing her claims against Brian Warner without seeking or receiving anything in return. Ms. Smithline has refused to be manipulated by others who are trying to pursue their own agendas against Mr. Warner. We wish her well and will continue to work to assure  that a significant price will be paid by those who have tried to abuse our legal system.”

Manson has faced multiple accusations of wrongdoing over the past two years.

Evan Rachel Wood, who began publicly dating Manson in 2007 when she was 19 and he was 39, accused him in a February 2021 Instagram post of “grooming me when I was a teenager” before he “horrifically abused me for years.” Those allegations were followed by separate lawsuits from Smithline, former assistant Ashley Walters, Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco and a Jane Doe accuser.

In her lawsuit, Smithline made graphic and disturbing allegations of sexual assault against Manson. She alleged that she and Manson began a consensual relationship in 2010, but that it “quickly became apparent that consensual sex was not enough for Mr. Warner.”

“Ms. Smithline awoke from unconsciousness with her ankles and wrists tied together behind her back and Mr. Warner sexually penetrating her,” Smithline’s lawyers wrote in the lawsuit. “Ms. Smithline told Mr. Warner to stop and said no multiple times, and Mr. Warner told her to ‘shut the fuck up’ and ‘be quiet.’”

Manson has denied all of the allegations against him and even filed his own defamation lawsuit accusing Wood and another woman of orchestrating the many legal attacks against him. In the March 2022 complaint, he said Wood’s own “malicious falsehood” was part of an “organized attack” aimed at derailing his career, in which she had “secretly recruited, coordinated, and pressured prospective accusers to emerge simultaneously.” Wood denies those allegations.

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