Acquitted Former Yale Student Suing 15 Women’s Organizations For Defamation
In this photo illustration, Yale University logo seen displayed on a tablet.
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former Yale University student who was accused of sexual assault but acquitted at trial is suing 15 women’s organizations he says defamed him after the verdict.

Saifullah Khan was found not guilty in March 2018 but was subsequently expelled from Yale anyway. He sued the university and his accuser – and is now suing women’s organizations he says defamed him in post-verdict filings.

While suing Yale and his accuser, who has not been named in court or the media, the 15 organizations applied to file an amicus brief with the Connecticut Supreme Court. The filing included a proposed brief, which Khan says included “several false and defamatory statements.”

Those statements include the opening sentence, which stated as fact, “When Jane Doe was in college, the Plaintiff raped her,” even though Khan was acquitted. The brief also claimed that “her rapist invented an ambiguity in Connecticut law and subjected her to years of costly and traumatic retaliatory litigation.”

Throughout the brief, the organizations referred to the accuser as a “victim” and noted in a footnote that “Jane Doe was raped…”

When Khan and his attorney objected to the organizations’ application to file the amicus brief, the groups defended their claims as “supported by the record.”

The Connecticut Supreme Court disagreed with the claim, denying the application but allowing them to refile. In its denial, the court argued that any refiling must be “shorn of all facts not supported by the record.”

When the organizations refiled their brief, the opening sentence was changed to say: “Jane Doe, while a student at Yale University, engaged in Yale’s legally-obligated reporting and disciplinary procedures to report that plaintiff had sexually assaulted her.”

As Khan notes in his lawsuit, the original proposed brief is still permanently available on the Connecticut Supreme Court website.

Khan filed professional ethics complaints against Jennifer Becker, an attorney associated with the initial brief. When answering the complaint, Becker apologized for the language, saying, “I first want to acknowledge and apologize for the offending language that was included in the draft amicus brief.” She added that her language “was over-zealous and unnecessarily forceful.” She also directly addressed the use of the word “rape,” saying it was used “without qualification that it was an allegation…”

She claimed, however, that “any overzealousness on my part was ameliorated by the Court’s order and there is no resulting harm to Mr. Khan.”


Khan disagrees and is suing Becker and 15 women’s organizations who signed on to the amicus brief: Jewish Women International, Legal Momentum, The Fierberg National Law Group, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Futures Without Violence, Advocates For Youth, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Crime Victim Law Institute, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Women’s Law Center, Network for Victim Recovery, Sanctuary for Families, and the Women’s Law Project.

The Daily Wire previously reported on the details of Khan’s case. In March 2018, a jury found him not guilty in a court of law. While some could argue that “not guilty” does not mean “innocent,” some jurors said they perceived him as innocent after the trial.

“He’s innocent, and the facts prove it,” said Elise Wiener, an alternate juror who saw the same evidence as the other jurors. “He was acquitted because he deserved to be acquitted and the prosecutor should never have brought the case in the first place.”

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