Mike Goguen filed a lawsuit against John Brunner. John Brunner was running against Eric Greitens for the Republican party nomination for Governor in the state of Missouri. Brunner lost, and Greitens won. Mr. Goguen had contributed funds to the Greitens campaign.
Here are some excerpts from the public record.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ST. CHARLES COUNTY
ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
STATE OF MISSOURI
MICHAEL LEWIS GOGUEN, )
v. ) Case No.
JOHN BRUNNER, )
For his petition against defendant John Brunner, plaintiff Michael Goguen states and
alleges as follows:
- Defendant John Brunner has dragged Plaintiff Michael Goguen’s name and
reputation through the mud in a transparent effort to score political points in his campaign for the
Republican nomination for Governor of Missouri. Mr. Brunner has knowingly and maliciously
spread demonstrable lies about Mr. Goguen, falsely accused him of heinous acts and crimes, and
defamed him simply because he donated money to one of Mr. Brunner’s political opponents.
Mr. Brunner also refused to correct his falsehoods even when notified of them and given an
opportunity to correct the record. Mr. Brunner’s sustained and unfounded attacks on Mr.
Goguen have caused significant and distinct harm to Mr. Goguen’s reputation and he has
sustained actual damages as a result.
- Mr. Goguen is a prominent Silicon Valley investor and a prolific philanthropist
who has founded and funded public service organizations and donated millions of dollars to
charitable organizations and law enforcement agencies. Mr. Goguen also contributes to political
campaigns, and donated to the campaign of Eric Greitens, one of Mr. Brunner’s opponents in the
Missouri Republican gubernatorial primary.
- In March 2016, Amber Baptiste filed a lawsuit against Mr. Goguen in California
state court for breach of contract. In her suit, Ms. Baptiste, who previously had a consensual,
adult relationship with Mr. Goguen, alleged that Mr. Goguen failed to pay her $30 million she
claimed was owed under an agreement between the two which was the result of her extorting Mr.
Goguen. Ms. Baptiste’s complaint included salacious allegations for which there is no
evidentiary support whatsoever including that, as a teenager, she was the victim of human
trafficking. Ms. Baptiste’s complaint did not allege that she had a sexual relationship with Mr.
Goguen when she was a teenager, or that she was Mr. Goguen’s “teenage sex slave.”
- The allegations Ms. Baptiste asserted in her complaint that Brunner has chosen to
mischaracterize have already been revealed to be false, as shown by a sworn affidavit from her
former roommate and long-term friend, and other information in the California lawsuit’s public
court file. This information showing that the allegations were false was either known or, with
minimal inquiry, would have been known to Mr. Brunner prior to him making his statements.
- In addition, Mr. Brunner either knew, or should have known, that the source of
the allegations was otherwise unreliable. Since filing her suit, Ms. Baptiste has been barred from
re-entering the United States, presumably because she entered into a sham “green card marriage”
and was staying in the United States illegally. Ms. Baptiste’s behavior has also grown
increasingly more erratic and disturbing since she sued Mr. Goguen. She recently sent email
messages to partners of the law firm representing Mr. Goguen in California praying that their
daughters be “raped in the street” and “molested.” In fact, two days after these disturbing and
menacing messages were forwarded to Ms. Baptiste’s lawyers, her lawyers asked the California
court that they be allowed to withdraw from her case and cease representing Ms. Baptiste due to
“irreconcilable differences,” a request the California court granted on July 25, 2016. On July 15,
2016, Mr. Brunner was informed of these matters (other than the July 25 court order) by Mr.
Goguen’s counsel and did not retract his statements.
- Mr. Brunner spent $7.5 million of his own money on a failed Senate primary
campaign in 2012, and has spent at least $3.6 million of his own money on his current campaign.
According to recent polling data published in Missouri, Mr. Brunner is losing to Mr. Greitens in
the race for governor. At the most recent primary debate, apparently desperate to save himself
from yet another expensive and embarrassing primary loss, Mr. Brunner attacked Mr. Greitens
for accepting a campaign contribution from Mr. Goguen, stating, “I refuse to be lectured by a
guy who took one million dollars from the owner of a teenage sex slave.” He made this
comment without regard to the truth of the matter or its impact on Mr. Goguen and did so solely
for his own, short-term political and personal gain.
- In addition, the statement by Mr. Brunner was understood by the audience and
reported in the media to specifically relate to Mr. Goguen, even if Mr. Brunner did not, this time,
mention Mr. Goguen’s name.
- In his comment, Mr. Brunner stated – as a matter of fact – that Mr. Goguen
“owned” Ms. Baptiste as a “teenage sex slave.” Not only is this statement demonstrably false, it
was not even alleged in Ms. Baptiste’s complaint. After even a cursory review of Ms. Baptiste’s
complaint, Mr. Brunner – or a member of his campaign staff – would have known that even Ms.
Baptiste has not alleged that Mr. Goguen was “the owner of a teenage sex slave.” In truth, Ms.
Baptiste was born in 1980, met Mr. Goguen when she was over 21 years old, and never even
alleged in her complaint to the contrary. Mr. Brunner’s lie – a malicious misrepresentation of
allegations asserted by an unstable person – was either knowingly false when made, or made
with a reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.
- Mr. Brunner’s malicious lie also was not a fair or accurate report of the lawsuit in
California. Ms. Baptiste did not allege that she was a teenager when she met Mr. Goguen or that
Mr. Goguen “owned” her. Moreover, prior to Mr. Brunner’s statements, the court proceedings
had also revealed that Ms. Baptiste’s own roommate and long-term friend contradicted the core
allegations of Ms. Baptiste being a “sex slave” or victim of trafficking being held without her
will. Thus, not only did Mr. Brunner falsely report unsupported allegations as truth, he did not
supply listeners with information necessary to render his statements not misleading. He did not
accurately or fairly report either the allegations made or provide information necessary to make a
report of the court proceedings a fair summary.
- Mr. Brunner’s statement – which was clearly calculated to make news and draw
attention to his campaign – was reported and quoted in numerous publications. Others have
republished Mr. Brunner’s slanderous comment and have gratuitously, and falsely, added that
Mr. Goguen has been “charged” with “owning a teenaged sex slave,” conveying to readers that
Mr. Goguen was criminally charged with owning a teenage sex slave. Of course, this is also
false. These reports in the media and in the comments to social media caused new and
independent actual harm to Mr. Goguen’s reputation (in Missouri and elsewhere), as shown by
the comments and reaction to this media coverage. The debate was well attended and the media
stories have been widely read – including by people who had not previously read or learned any
information about Mr. Goguen. Thus, the actual harm caused by false statements by Mr.
Brunner is independent of and additive to any damage previously sustained by Mr. Goguen.
- On July 15, 2016, counsel for Mr. Goguen wrote to Mr. Brunner asking that he
retract and correct his false statements. A true and correct copy of the July 15, 2016 letter is
attached hereto as Exhibit A. Mr. Brunner has ignored the letter.
- Mr. Brunner’s statement and the intended media fallout has seriously harmed Mr.
Goguen’s reputation in Missouri and elsewhere. As a result of Mr. Brunner’s malicious and
false statements, Mr. Goguen has sustained significant damage and has expended resources to
clear his name and rehabilitate his reputation. He has retained and incurred expenses consulting
with a public relations firm regarding appropriate steps to clear his name. In addition, the
statements have harmed his reputation with the wide swath of society that follow Missouri
politics and who read the major news articles covering the debate. The public comments to the
media stories reflect that Mr. Brunner’s statements at the debate have caused new and distinct
harm to Mr. Goguen’s reputation, which has caused him to suffer actual damages in the form of
professional expenses, damage to his reputation for when he returns to his professional activities
after defeating Ms. Baptiste’s false allegations, damages that prevent him from carrying out his
political and charitable activities that have been an important part of his life, and emotional
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
- Jurisdiction is proper in this court because Mr. Brunner is an individual citizen of
the State of Missouri.
- Venue is proper in this court under Missouri Revised Statute § 508.010. Section
508.010(4) provides that “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law, in all actions in which
there is any count alleging a tort and in which the plaintiff was first injured in the state of
Missouri, venue shall be in the county where the plaintiff was first injured by the wrongful acts
or negligent conduct alleged in the action.” Section 508.010(8) further provides that “[i]n any
action for defamation or for invasion of privacy, the plaintiff shall be considered first injured in
the county in which the defamation or invasion was first published.” Mr. Brunner’s defamatory
statements were first published during a televised debate at Lindenwood University, located in
St. Charles County.
- Plaintiff Michael Lewis Goguen is an investor and philanthropist who currently
resides in Montana.
- Defendant John Brunner is a candidate for Governor of Missouri. Plaintiff is
informed and believes that Mr. Brunner lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
- As alleged, Mr. Brunner, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor
of Missouri, deliberately spread a defamatory and malicious falsehood about Mr. Goguen during
the July 12, 2016, Missouri Republican Gubernatorial debate. Mr. Brunner did so in an effort to
attack Mr. Greitens, a candidate to whom Mr. Goguen contributed money and who is currently
leading Mr. Brunner by nearly ten points in the latest polls, with only three weeks left before the
- During the debate, which was broadcast live on television and remains available
on the Internet, Mr. Brunner said to Mr. Greitens and the world: “I refuse to be lectured by a guy
who took one million dollars from the owner of a teenage sex slave.” This statement clearly
referred to Mr. Goguen, as a number of the candidates running for the Republican nomination
have attempted to turn Mr. Goguen’s contribution to Mr. Greitens into a campaign issue in light
of Ms. Baptiste’s meritless lawsuit. Persons listening to the debate, or viewing the online
recording, would reasonably conclude that Mr. Brunner was referring to Mr. Goguen as the
“owner of a teenage sex slave,” and Mr. Brunner intended that his statement be understood as
referring to Mr. Goguen.
- Mr. Brunner’s claim that Mr. Goguen owned “a teenage sex slave” accused Mr.
Goguen of a heinous crime of moral turpitude which would also affect him in his trade or
business and which has caused political or charitable organizations to avoid association with Mr.
- The statement is also utterly false. Ms. Baptiste’s complaint never even alleged
that Mr. Goguen “owned” her as a “teenage sex slave.” This fact would have been clear to Mr.
Brunner or his staff had they read her complaint before attacking and slandering Mr. Goguen.
Moreover, the allegations that were asserted by Ms. Baptiste are false and any reasonably inquiry
by Mr. Brunner would have revealed the falsity of those allegations as well as the general
unreliability of Ms. Baptiste.
Mr. Goguen’s Background and the Lawsuit
- Mr. Goguen is an investor and formerly a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Mr.
Goguen helped to fund and develop countless start-ups into successful companies that employ
thousands of people and create innovative products, services, and applications enjoyed by
consumers nationally and abroad. Mr. Goguen also served on the board of directors for many of
- In addition, Mr. Goguen is a prolific philanthropist. He has founded and funded
public service organizations and donated tens of millions of dollars to charity. Mr. Goguen has
also supported and contributed to the campaigns of numerous political candidates over the years,
including Eric Greitens, a candidate for Governor of Missouri. Mr. Goguen has been unable to
continue these activities in Missouri in light of Mr. Brunner’s false accusations against him.
- For more than a decade, Mr. Goguen was involved in a consensual relationship
with Amber Baptiste, who he met in 2002. When the two met, Ms. Baptiste was 21-years old
and Mr. Goguen was in his thirties. Mr. Goguen and Ms. Baptiste saw one another only
occasionally, typically no more than a few times a year, and largely at Ms. Baptiste’s request.
Throughout the years, far from being “owned” as a “sex slave,” Ms. Baptiste lived apart from
Mr. Goguen – in different cities, states, and even countries, depending on the period of time. She
traveled freely apart from him, worked and earned substantial amounts of money on her own,
and only saw him occasionally.
- Near the end of their relationship, Ms. Baptiste, who was herself married, became
delusional, bitter, and jealous of Mr. Goguen’s wife and family. Ms. Baptiste claimed that she
had “psychic” abilities and could see things on a “screen” in her head. Ms. Baptiste expressed a
desire to have children with Mr. Goguen and pleaded with him to leave his wife and family.
When Mr. Goguen ended the relationship, Ms. Baptiste again asked him to marry her and, when
he declined, she hatched a plan to extort Mr. Goguen for millions of dollars and “punish” him for
ending their affair.
- In January 2014, Ms. Baptiste threatened to falsely and publically accuse Mr.
Goguen of violent rape and intentionally spreading a sexually transmitted disease unless Mr.
Goguen agreed to pay her $40 million. The extortion was brazen. Her lawyer told Mr. Goguen
that Ms. Baptiste’s decision to inform the press of her scandalous and false allegations would
turn on Mr. Goguen’s “generosity.” In other words, Ms. Baptiste threatened to go to the press
with her false allegations unless Mr. Goguen agreed to pay her $40 million.
- After months of harassment and increasing threats, Mr. Goguen acceded to Ms.
Baptiste’s extortionate demands and agreed to pay her $40 million in four installments of $10
million over two years. He made the first payment within a week of signing the agreement.
- In exchange for the payments, Ms. Baptiste agreed to not contact Mr. Goguen.
But instead, after making that promise, she sent him more than two thousand text messages that,
among other things, included vitriolic, graphic, and racist attacks against Mr. Goguen’s wife,
falsely accused him of having sex with Ms. Baptiste when she was a teenager, making additional
financial demands, and threatened him with criminal prosecution. Over many months, he
repeatedly asked her to honor the very agreement she had demanded and stop contacting him, but
she refused. Mr. Goguen realized that the pattern of extortion and harassment would never end,
and Ms. Baptiste’s extortion, breaches, and other misconduct relieved him of his obligation to
make further payments to her, so he refused to pay Ms. Baptiste anymore.
- In response, Ms. Baptiste filed a public lawsuit in California state court against
Mr. Goguen for breach of contract. In her complaint, Ms. Baptiste included many of the false
accusations that she threatened to publically spread during her extortion of Mr. Goguen.
Notably, she did not accuse Mr. Goguen of having any sexual relationship with her when she
was a teenager, or that Mr. Goguen “owned” her as a “teenage sex slave.” In fact, Ms. Baptiste
stated that she did not even meet Mr. Goguen until 2002, when she was at least 21-years old.
Ms. Baptiste’s Allegations Are Shown to Be Lies
and Her Attorneys Ask to Stop Representing Her
- Since filing her complaint, Ms. Baptiste’s story has collapsed under the weight of
the lies upon which it was based. Thus, Mr. Brunner’s comments – reporting false, discredited
allegations as fact – caused particularized and distinct harm to Mr. Goguen because they (a)
reported allegations as fact; and (b) did so after other media had reported on facts that caused
Ms. Baptiste’s credibility to be severely undermined. After Mr. Goguen spent significant time
and money to undermine Ms. Baptiste’s allegations, Mr. Brunner ignored all these contrary facts
and reignited otherwise discredited claims.
- Rather than being a victim of human trafficking as she claimed, Ms. Baptiste’s
own writings admit that she voluntarily came to the United States and chose to become a dancer
because the job was lucrative and she could not find any other profession that appealed to her.
Evidence has also surfaced that Ms. Baptiste, who is a Canadian citizen, attempted to obtain a
green card by paying a Texas man $10,000 to marry her in what she has admitted in writing was
a “sham marriage.” Ms. Baptiste has been barred from re-entering the United States, presumably
because of the discovery of her attempted immigration fraud.
- Central to Ms. Baptiste’s claim that Mr. Goguen gave her HPV was her repeated
written assurances to Mr. Goguen that she had never had a sexual relationship with anyone but
him. Since she sued Mr. Goguen, however, evidence has surfaced that Ms. Baptiste had sex with
multiple people, including a woman who herself had been infected with the HPV virus.
- Ms. Baptiste’s lawsuit also claims that Mr. Goguen abused her, but her own
emails and texts to Mr. Goguen stand in stark contrast to that claim. Among other things, Ms.
Baptiste wrote to Mr. Goguen telling him how much she loved him and their occasional
“The love that I hold in my heart for you was instant. It is a perfect love.
And to me it is the perfect way to love someone. It is forever and
“I love our visits. I feel so blessed to have met you and have been able to
maintain a special relationship with you. I can only hope that it
“I know it feels really good when we are together and to me it feels so
perfect and I never want to let go of you;”
“I feel like it is the most perfect beautiful interactions two people could
“I could never even make love to you enough times to show you how
special you are to me;”
“You gained my full trust because when ever I came to see you you
always respected my decisions with that [sic] I was comfortable sexually
and never pushed me to do more than I wanted to and now I am ready to
do more and I hope you are there for that as well;”
“Something really does happen inside of me when I see you…. A really
heavenly feeling, it stays with me for days afterward;” and
“I miss you dearly. I miss your touch on my body. When you make love
to me I am portaled away to some far off place of delight.”
- Far from Mr. Goguen being a sexual predator, as Ms. Baptiste contends, Ms.
Baptiste herself initiated their sexual encounters and sent Mr. Goguen photographs and messages
in an effort to seduce him:
“I want you to feel comfortably [sic] sharing with me every fantasy you
have ever had. When we come together I want it to be completley [sic]
comfortable and relaxed and for exploration of all fantasy reality and
erotica to take place wherever we decide that may be;”
“Can’t wait for night 3 of our ardent liaison amoureuse;”
“I would like to move this sexual energy more often. And sexual energy
equals creativity so the more amazing sex we have the more creative we
“You can ask me to do anything with you I want you to experience
anything that you have ever wanted to experience with me. I don’t want
you to be shy;”
“I don’t really require variety in hotels. I come there with one thought in
mind which is making love to you;” and
“I miss you so Much. My Body Misses you so Much. I love you so
- The California litigation has also revealed Ms. Baptiste’s utter disregard for the
law and willingness to lie and commit perjury to hide her crimes or avoid punishment. For
example, official police reports produced in the California litigation by the Frisco, Texas Police
Department reveal that in 2003, Ms. Baptiste was in a single-car accident after which it was
determined that she “had a high concentration of cocaine in her system” and “that she had been
drinking and was most likely intoxicated to the point she could not control or operate her vehicle
in a safe manner.” Ms. Baptiste claimed that unidentified assailants had “stuck a needle in her
arm” and shortly thereafter left Texas and returned to Canada. Nearly a year later, Ms. Baptiste
returned to the Frisco Police Department and, in an apparent attempt to avoid a charge of driving
while intoxicated, claimed for the first time that “the black males [who she claimed had assaulted
her] forced her to drink champagne through a flask” and that “the black male with the knife held
it to her throat and sexually assaulted her vaginally.” As a result, the Frisco Police Department
concluded that it was “unable to prove the DWI due to the victim making a possible sexual
assault case.” Likewise, after being ticketed for speeding in California, she claimed that her
purse had been stolen and that someone else had presented her driver’s license when stopped,
only to have the officer who ticketed her verify that he could positively identify her as the driver.
- During the course of the California litigation, Ms. Baptiste has become even more
menacing. On June 20, 2016, Ms. Baptiste sent a rambling email to the name partners at the law
firm that represents Mr. Goguen, expressing her desire that the daughters of the recipients “be
raped night after night after night,” and making other graphic and disturbing threats and wishes
“May your daughters your nieces and your neighbors daughters disappear
on their way home from school/May their teenage bodies be sold from one
man to another.”
“May your cousins, your sisters, your mothers our teachers, our doctors
our women and our girls face rape in the street night after night after
“May your daughters be molested in their beds night after night after
“May your granddaughter meet rape in her college dorm/Night after night
“May your anus be torn open. May you stand in a pool of your own blood
abandoned and alone.”
- Similar emails were sent to other attorneys who have represented Mr. Goguen or
had a prior association with Mr. Goguen in other matters.
- Mr. Baptiste’ atrocious misconduct has caused even her own attorneys to seek to
distance themselves from her. Two business days after being forwarded Ms. Baptiste’s June 20,
2016 emails, her attorneys filed a motion in California state court asking to be relieved as
counsel of record in Ms. Baptiste’s lawsuit against Mr. Goguen, citing “irreconcilable
differences.” On July 25, 2016, the Court permitted Ms. Baptiste’s counsel to withdraw. Ms.
Baptiste has either been unable to obtain new counsel, or has chosen not to, so she is now
representing herself in pro per in her California lawsuit against Mr. Goguen.
- From the revelation that Ms. Baptiste committed immigration fraud, to the
exposure of Ms. Baptiste’s many lies, and culminating in the California Court permitting Ms.
Baptiste’s attorneys to withdraw, Mr. Goguen’s reputation was beginning to turn a corner before
Mr. Brunner’s recent defamatory statements. It was becoming clear that Ms. Baptiste’s lawsuit
was meritless, that her accusations were false, and Mr. Goguen had been wrongfully accused.
Mr. Brunner, Desperate to Salvage Another Losing Campaign, Slanders Mr. Goguen
- Unfortunately for Mr. Goguen, the efforts to rehabilitate his reputation have been
impeded and sidetracked by Mr. Brunner’s malicious and false attack on Mr. Goguen’s character
which was launched in an effort to rescue Mr. Brunner’s struggling campaign for Missouri
- According to public polls, Mr. Brunner’s campaign has been – at best – treading
water over the past month. A June 18, 2016, Remington Research poll had Mr. Brunner leading
the race with 23% and Mr. Greitens far behind at 17%. Since then, the two most recent polls
have Mr. Greitens leading Mr. Brunner by a significant margin. According to a July 8, 2016,
Remington Research poll, Mr. Greitens was leading Mr. Brunner 29% to 22%, and a July 15,
2016, Public Policy Polling poll had Mr. Brunner behind Mr. Greitens 24% to 16%.
- Mr. Brunner, who ran for and lost the Republican nomination for Senate in 2012,
has spent at least $11 million of his own substantial personal assets on his political career, so far
with nothing to show for it. With less than three weeks left before the election, and in order to
avoid another expensive and embarrassing loss, Mr. Brunner lied about Mr. Goguen at the
Republican debate on July 12, 2016, telling Mr. Greitens that “I refuse to be lectured by a guy
who took one million dollars from the owner of a teenage sex slave.” Mr. Brunner’s statement
was made at a televised debate. His statement was recorded and broadcast on television, radio,
and online. The statement that Mr. Goguen, as a matter of fact, was the “owner of a teenage sex
slave” is false and Mr. Brunner either knew it was untrue when he made it or made this statement
with a reckless disregard for truth or falsity.
- To make clear that his accusations were not a misstatement or slip of the tongue,
Mr. Brunner’s campaign doubled down and posted on a Twitter account that Mr. Goguen was a
“sex slave owner.” A campaign staffer for Mr. Brunner also posted on her Twitter account that
Mr. Goguen was a “sex slave trafficker.” A true and correct copy of this Twitter post is attached
hereto as Exhibit B.
The Press Reports on Mr. Brunner’s Defamatory Statement and Mr. Goguen’s Damages
- As a direct result of Mr. Brunner’s malicious, false, and defamatory statements
about Mr. Goguen, a number of news outlets repeated – without context – the accusation that
Mr. Goguen owned a sex slave, and have made the claim even more incendiary, implying that
Mr. Goguen has been criminally charged as a result.
For example, the Missouri Times published a “release” that stated that Mr.
Goguen was “charged with holding a sex slave for 13 years.” This characterization, which is
understood by any reasonable reader to state that Mr. Goguen was criminally charged for
“holding a sex slave,” is false, irresponsible, and directly attributable to Mr. Brunner’s statement
and tweet. See http://themissouritimes.com/31478/release-brunner-to-greitens-at-debate-haveyou-no-shame/.
Likewise, the Kansas City Star published a story titled, “Trailwatch: Money,
guns, sex slaves in Missouri and Kansas political rhetoric,” that quotes Mr. Brunner stating, “I
refuse to be lectured on ethics by Eric Greitens who refuses to return $1 million his campaign
took from a man charged with having a sex slave for 13 years, I’ve had enough of Eric Greitens’
hypocrisy and lies and again call on him to return the $1 million he’s taken from accused sex
slave owner Michael Goguen.” See http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columnsblogs/the-buzz/article89781682.html.
Once again, this article and quote falsely and irresponsibly
makes statements understood by a reasonable reader to mean that Mr. Goguen was criminally
- Both articles were published online and are available to readers internationally.
- As a result of Mr. Brunner’s statements and Twitter post, Mr. Goguen’s
reputational rehabilitation has been halted. He has suffered reputational harm above and beyond
any injury that he incurred when Ms. Baptiste’s lawsuit was originally filed. Comments on
Twitter, Facebook, and the media stories in response to Mr. Brunner’s statements have caused
new, independent damage to Mr. Goguen’s reputation.
- More specifically, Mr. Goguen has been forced to expend considerable resources
to directly combat these defamatory statements in Missouri and elsewhere. Mr. Goguen has
retained a public relations firm to plan and implement a media campaign to clear the harm to his
reputation caused by Mr. Brunner’s statements in Missouri.
- In addition, Mr. Goguen’s professional and personal reputation has been harmed
by these statements. His return to professional activities and charitable and political activities
has been impacted, despite his prior progress made in clearing his name. He suffered additional
emotional distress from Mr. Brunner’s statements and due to the further reputational harm.
COUNT I: DEFAMATION
- Plaintiff realleges and incorporates by reference all allegations in the preceding
- Defendant Brunner made numerous false statements about Plaintiff Goguen,
stating at the July 12, 2016 televised Republican gubernatorial campaign that Mr. Goguen was
“the owner of a teenage sex slave,” and posting on a campaign Twitter account that Mr. Goguen
is a “sex slave owner.” He also told the Kansas City Star, “I refuse to be lectured on ethics by
Eric Greitens who refuses to return $1 million his campaign took from a man charged with
having a sex slave for 13 years, I’ve had enough of Eric Greitens’ hypocrisy and lies and again
call on him to return the $1 million he’s taken from accused sex slave owner Michael Goguen.”
Once again, this article and quote falsely and irresponsibly implies that Mr. Goguen was
- These statements were published to third parties by being televised, posted on
Twitter, and reported in the press. They are available online to the entire world.
- At the time Mr. Brunner made these statements he either knew they were false or
he made the statements with reckless disregard for whether they were true or false. The
statements are not a fair or accurate report or summary of the judicial proceedings in California
in that they were reported as “facts” and not allegations; they were intended to communicate that
Mr. Goguen was “charged” by authorities with this activity (as opposed to allegations being
made by an unreliable civil plaintiff seeking money); and, they neglected to include additional
matters from the court proceeding necessary to render the report of the proceedings not
- The statements, which falsely accuse Mr. Goguen of heinous crimes of moral
turpitude, have exposed him to hatred, contempt, and ridicule and deprived him of public
confidence and social associations.
- These statements were read, heard, or seen by the public in Missouri and
- Mr. Goguen’s reputation was harmed and he suffered actual damages in the form
described herein. These damages include expenses, incurred to combat Defendant Brunner’s lies
and to rehabilitate his reputation, in an amount to be proved at trial.
- Defendant Brunner, in making his statements, acted outrageously from an evil
motive or indifference to the rights of Mr. Goguen. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to punitive
damages in an amount to be assessed at trial.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF AND JURY DEMAND
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Goguen demands judgment in his favor against Defendant
Brunner as follows:
- For compensatory damages in an amount according to proof at trial;
- For punitive damages in an amount according to proof at trial;
- For costs of suit; and
- For such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.
DATED: July 26, 2016 Respectfully submitted,
By: /s/ James F. Bennett
James F. Bennett, #46826
Dowd Bennett LLP
7733 Forsyth Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63105
(314) 863-2111 (facsimile)
Bruce Van Dalsem (pro hac to be filed)
Diane Doolittle (pro hac to be filed)
Alex Bergjans (pro hac to be filed)
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
865 S. Figueroa St 10th Floor
Los Angeles, Ca 90017
(213) 443-3100 (facsimile)