Justin Bieber filed a $20 million defamation lawsuit against two women who accused him of sexual assault and although they may need to file bankruptcy if they lose, one lawyer says the case is more about clearing the singer’s image rather than collecting money.
Justin Bieber, 26, is fighting back against two women who accused him of sexually assaulting them in 2014 and 2015 by suing them in a $20 million defamation lawsuit. The singer filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 25 after he denied the claims and posted what he called “proof” that what they’re accusing him of is “factually impossible.” Although the lawsuit is for a large sum of money, California lawyer George T. Kelly, from The Law Offices of George T. Kelly Apc. EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife that Justin’s action with the suit is most likely more about clearing his image rather than collecting the amount he’s suing for, and if the women can’t pay the money, he won’t get it anyway.
“What he gets is a big fat bankruptcy petition from the women when they get a judgement against them, for that amount, they go to bankruptcy court and discharge the judgement,” Kelly explained. “That’s the end of that. The lawsuits by mega stars are largely ornamental. They are cosmetic and just there to make a statement.”
Kelly brought up singer Taylor Swift and the 2017 lawsuit she filed against a radio DJ she claimed touched her behind during a photo op as an example. “Taylor Swift sued a guy for touching her bottom and the jury gave her what she wanted, which was $1.00. That put an end to that,” he said. “Now according to that jury we know Taylor was telling the truth and the guy was lying because he said he never did it. The jury believed her.”
“That is why those cases are largely cosmetic cases,” Kelly continued. “He (Bieber) may win the lawsuit, but he is not going to collect any money from the girls. He is doing it probably to try to spruce up his image. Otherwise, unharnessed allegations out there that he is a sexual predator and he doesn’t like that for his image.”
Kelly also talked about the potential difficulties of finding out Justin’s accusers’ IP addresses. Although he says the process to find that kind of information out is “very hard to do”, Justin’s wealth may make it possible for him to do it and because he doesn’t want the accusations to ruin his image, the high costs may be worth it. “Justin has got unlimited amounts of money. His lawyers may be able to spend more time and money to obtain the IP addresses,” he explained. “It’s all a function of time and money.”
Kelly went on to explain that Justin most likely has many lawyers on retainer who are ready and willing to deal with these sorts of issues. “They probably have to do things like send cease and desist orders when people use his music and they’re not supposed to,” he said. “He probably has a law firm that he just tells his manager, ‘Call the boys and tell them to go get these girls.’ It just comes as his monthly legal bill, which he pays anyway.”
Kelly concluded his take on Justin’s case by pointing out that if the artist wins the $20 million judgement, and the girls at the center of the lawsuit have to file bankruptcy because they can’t pay, the case can affect their records, including their credit ratings, and they could be chased by credit agencies for up to 20 years. He further explained that a slander and defamation win can’t be discharged in bankruptcy court so it would truly dog their lives for up to those 20 years.
“You cannot discharge them in bankruptcy,” Kelly confirmed. “The federal bankruptcy court looks at it like, you know this is against public policy and these women lied and Mr. Bieber proved it. I’m not going to discharge the judgement. So, they walk out with this judgement against them for $20 million dollars. It’s going to be on their record and hanging over their head. Usually up to 20 years.”
Interview conducted by Meagan Sargent. This interview was edited for clarity.