Miltenberg: “The Attorney Spearheading the “Shitty Media Men” Lawsuit Is a Top Defender of Accused Campus Rapists,” Mother Jones


In the first days of the #MeToo movement in October 2017, journalist Moira Donegan opened a Google spreadsheet, titled it “Shitty Media Men,” and shared it with female friends and colleagues, asking them to add the names rumored or alleged sexual abusers or harassers—and to keep it secret from men. And now one of the men named on the list, author Stephen Elliott, is suing Donegan and the list’s anonymous contributors for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. Representing Elliott in his lawsuit is Andrew Miltenberg of Nesenoff & Miltenberg, a New York City lawyer who until several years ago had a modest reputation for business litigation, including defamation and First Amendment cases. But it’s Miltenberg’s more recent work that makes him a noteworthy choice: He’s spent the last five years making a name as one of the foremost defenders of male college students accused of sexual violence. … Miltenberg has become the go-to lawyer for students facing allegations of sexual misconduct, representing them in code-of-conduct hearings that never make it to a real court, and filing lawsuits arguing that colleges are violating the due-process rights of the accused. As of late 2017, he’d been hired to represent about 150 students in college disciplinary hearings and lawsuits against nearly 50 schools, he told the New York Times. … With his $1.5 million lawsuit, Elliott has gone a step further—claiming that allegations against him were not the fault of a survivor’s mixed-up memory, or of a misunderstanding, but of women like Donegan who, he claims, fabricate accusations out of hatred for men. The same idea animates the worst claims of the #HimToo backlash: that women, wanting to ruin men’s lives, will frequently lie about sexual assault, and that any man is vulnerable to a false allegation. In college cases, Miltenberg found ways to turn these concerns about anti-male bias into powerful legal strategies. Perhaps it’s no surprise that he’s now levying the same arguments beyond campus boundaries.

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