On Thursday night former Silicon Valley start-up big-wig Michael Arrington published a letter from his lawyer to Jenn Allen, one of the women who has accused him of sexual assault, most of which was meant to destroy her character and credibility. The legal letter, written by Arrington's attorney Eric M. George, addresses four statements by Jenn Allen, one of the three specific cases of women who Arrington allegedly sexually assaulted, on Facebook and Gawker. The letter is mostly filled with evidence to paint Allen as a scorned woman, obsessed with Arrington, which doesn't really prove much with regards to his behavior towards her. Earlier this week we laid out everything that had been said, either way, by Arrington and his accusers. After the Arrington dump, here's where things stand:
The Rape of Jenn Allen
Allegations: Allen accused Arrington of rape in a Gawker comment. "That hurts what you said about rape, because he did rape me, on March 5 last year, when he invited me over to make amends from a major catastrophe a couple months prior. That was the last time I saw him," she wrote.
The Defense: Arrington's lawyer writes, "Your twice-repeated allegation of rape/physical abuse by Michael is not only false, but factually impossible. On March 5, 2012, Michael was in Washington and you were in California. Michael’s whereabouts are confirmed by travel records and credit card statements in my possession, and your whereabouts are proven by a photo of you at a San Francisco party at 1:05 a.m. on March 6, 2012." The photo was taken from Allen's Facebook page.
Where That Leaves Things: That is extremely compelling evidence that a rape did not happen on March 5. Allen has responded in a tweet saying "For the record, the rape was the first Friday of March 2012 in the early morning, Mike took Leslie out from TC that same night. So horrible." That would make the incident that is alleged to have happened on March 2, not the 5th. She also claims the location was Anacourtes, Wash. Even if this is just a mix-up on Allen's part, it calls into question just how careful with the facts she has been in describing the allegations in her various postings on Facebook, Twitter, and Gawker.
The Rape of Jenn Allen's Friend
The Allegations: More than once Allen has mentioned and anonymous "other person" who Arrington raped.
The Defense: The lawyer responds to that saying "Your allegation that Michael raped another woman is also false," he writes. "Indeed, we cannot even hazard a guess as to the supposed rape victim who you twice reference, but whom you do not identify."
Where that Leaves Things: This remains where it's been: there are no details to this allegation except for what Allen has said.
The Physical and Sexual Abuse of Jenn Allen
The Allegations: Allen has written that Arrington threatened to "murder" her if she "told anyone about the physical abuse."
The Defense: Arrington's lawyer doesn't really defend Arrington here so much as document how Allen sent Arrington a lot of email, Twitter DMs, texts, etc, after she alleges that he abused her. "The foregoing statements of yours, as well as those set forth below, paint a starkly different picture; they do not portray you as a victim of abuse or murder threats, but rather as a person who is distraught at a break-up, and angered that her ex-boyfriend entered into a new relationship," writes the lawyer. He then points to flirty selfies, messages about landscaping, and broken-hearted text messages Allen sent, such as: "feel betrayed and slighted by you, and wish I wasn’t alone since you decided to be with someone else so quickly. Not sure how I’m going to teach myself how to love and trust again." The letter also points to all the public statements from friends and colleagues we rounded up here saying they never saw or heard of anything.
Where that Leaves Things: Whether or not Allen was obsessed with Arrington doesn't say anything about his behavior toward her. And, again, just because these friends and coworkers never heard of anything doesn't mean it didn't happen. The literal case — that someone who has been abused by someone in a relationship will not keep speaking to that person — is not convincing, but that may not be the real argument the lawyer is trying to make. Rather the case is being built against Allen's overall credibility, pointing out flaws in her other statements — such as her Gawker posting that "I reached out once to him in the past year to get my paintings back." If Allen is exaggerating on things like that, the lawyer suggests her sexual assault allegations can't be true, either. Ultimately, though, this letter is a plea to get Jenn Allen to retract her statements by April 15, or else Arrington will take things to court. In other words, it's a threat. But there may be some validity there. Building a case against Arrington in social media has demonstrated its limits, and if the charges are as serious as Allen is publicly maintaining they are, the question is mounting on why she isn't involving the law herself.
Update, 1:05 p.m. Eastern: Gawker, which has reported the various rape and sexual assault allegations lobbed at Arrington has a new post up with recent text messages from Julia Allison, a Silicon Valley personality who knows Arrington and one of the women he allegedly assaulted, Megan Asha. In the messages, Allison claims "he abused her [Asha] and many others. That isn't in question." Asha the other day said reports of the assault were "inaccurate," so Allison's texts don't change the status of that allegation.
Update, 2:45 p.m. Eastern: Arrington has responded to Gawker's post of Julia Allison texts with more Julia Allison texts that don't change the status of the allegation, either.
Update, 4:03 p.m. Eastern: A commenter posting under the name Julia Allison clarifies: "I NEVER witnessed any physical abuse, and I don't know why Gawker is alleging I did. I don't know what happened between Meghan Asha and Michael Arrington, and I never will." But, in another comment, the user seems to say what Gawker has been saying all along: that she heard it from Megan.
I have no idea whether abuse happened or not. All I know is what my friend told me years ago and stupidly I repeated that off the record. I don't know what kind of "journalists" use "evidence" like a friend of a friend repeating something she heard years ago, but let me be CRYSTAL CLEAR: I was NOT THERE, and I would like to be left out of this.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.