Steven Tyler‘s legal team have asked a judge to strike a claim of intentional inflection of emotional distress (IIED) “based on statements” Tyler made in memoirs.
Last month, Tyler denied all allegations from a recent lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting a minor.
The accusations were first raised in December, in which Julia Misley – who was known as Julia Holcomb at the time – accused the Aerosmith singer of sexual assault and battery dating back to the 1970s, when she was a minor.
In the suit, she claimed that they were both involved in a sexual relationship for about three years and that the frontman convinced her mother to grant him guardianship over her when she was 16.
The lawsuit also referenced Tyler’s memoirs, in which he recalled that he “almost took a teen bride” and described how her parents “signed a paper over for me to have custody, so I wouldn’t get arrested if I took her out of state.”
As reported by Rolling Stone, the defences stated that all claims are “barred” as the claimant gave “consent”, and added that Tyler should be granted immunity as he was “caretaker and/or guardian” at the time.
Now, according to Rolling Stone, in a new filing, Tyler’s lawyers are arguing that the parts of Misley’s suit based on the memoir make it a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” (SLAPP).
Tyler’s lawyers claim that the motion to strike is “made upon the grounds that” Misley filed a SLAPP because, “The conduct complained of arises out of statements made in Tyler’s published memoirs. Such conduct implicates Tyler’s right to free speech.”
The legal team are arguing that Tyler’s statements in his memoir should be considered “protected activity” and that Misley has “repeatedly” admitted “that her IIED claim is based on statements of immense public interest”.
“Here, Tyler’s memoirs regarding his experiences as a world-famous rockstar are indisputably newsworthy as demonstrated by the widespread attention they have garnered,” the motion reads. “Accordingly, the depth of the intrusion is minimal and clearly outweighed by Tyler’s right to recount events from his own life in his memoirs.”
In response, Misley’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, has told Rolling Stone that Tyler’s position “frivolous” and “his efforts to continue to profit and protect himself is both sordid and salacious.”
“The harm that he has caused is outlandish and astounding,” Anderson said. “When he claims in his affidavit that at the same time he made millions of dollars at auction with the publication of memoir, he claims under oath he did not intend to hurt her. That is like saying that when he put the stake in her heart, he never intended to have her bleed out.
“That represents the depth of his deceit and the power he thinks he holds. Reality: He has no power over her. And he has done her harm every day since. She is now the one that holds the power. This is no longer about the statutory rape of her, but rather her recovery of power.”
Tyler has yet to issue a comment in response to Anderson’s statement.