A legal battle that's been raging for six years between Kesha Rose Sebert (aka singer-songwriter Kesha) and music producer Dr. Luke (full name: Lukasz Gottwald) just earned a notch for Gottwald. Kesha, now 32, had filed a 2014 lawsuit against Gottwald, accusing him of verbal abuse and sexual assault, and that same year, he countersued her for defamation. On Thursday, per Variety, New York Supreme Court Judge Jennifer G. Schecter issued a decision on the defamation claim, ruling that a private text Kesha sent in 2006 to Lady Gaga noting that "the same man" who'd allegedly raped her (meaning Gottwald) had also raped Katy Perry. "There is no evidence whatsoever that Gottwald raped Katy Perry or that Katy Perry, whose sworn testimony is unrefuted, must not be believed," Schecter noted, per the Washington Post.
"Moreover, publication of a false statement to even one person, here Lady Gaga, is sufficient to impose liability," Schecter added. The judge also turned down Kesha's argument that Dr. Luke is a public figure, which made the defamation claim against her harder to overcome: The BBC notes public figures need to prove "actual malice" or "gross responsibility" on the part of a defendant accused of making false claims, while non-public figures simply need to prove they were harmed by the false claims. Schecter also ruled that Kesha has to fork over $374,000 in royalty payments to Gottwald, 46, who's long contended Kesha has made up the rape claim to get out of her recording contract with him. Kesha's allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005 still need to be considered by a jury; her lawsuit, meanwhile, was dismissed in 2016. Kesha's attorneys say she'll appeal Schecter's decision. (Read more Kesha stories.)