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Evan Rachel Wood Fires Back, Says She Never Pressured Marilyn Manson’s Abuse Accuser

todayFebruary 28, 2023 2

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Evan Rachel Wood is strongly denying allegations that she “manipulated” Ashley Morgan Smithline into making allegations of rape against Marilyn Manson.

Days after Smithline made those explosive accusations, Wood filed her own declaration in Los Angeles Court on Monday (Feb. 27), saying she had proof that it was Smithline who had first contacted her with accusations against Manson (real name Brian Warner), not vice-versa.

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“I never pressured or manipulated Ashley Morgan Smithline to make any accusations against plaintiff Brian Warner, and I certainly never pressured or manipulated her to make accusations that were not true,” Wood wrote in the filing.

Wood attached screenshots of purported text message conversations, including one in which Smithline told her “I have no reason to make this up!” Another set of messages read: “Just know you set me free. By listening. I love you.”

“Ms. Smithline has always told me that she was abused by Mr. Warner,” Wood wrote.

Smithline and Wood are two of several women to accuse Manson of serious sexual wrongdoing over the past two years. After Wood posted her allegations to Instagram in February 2021, lawsuits quickly followed from Smithline, Manson’s former assistant Ashley Walters, Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco and two Jane Doe accusers.

Manson has denied all of the allegations, and the cases by Smithline, Walters and Bianco have since been dropped or dismissed. Now, Manson is pursuing his own defamation lawsuit, claiming that Wood and another woman, Illma Gore, had “secretly recruited, coordinated, and pressured prospective accusers to emerge simultaneously” with false accusations against him.

In a filing last week in that defamation case, Smithline made her bombshell accusations about “manipulation” against Wood: “I succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against Mr. Warner that were not true.”

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In a response on Monday, Wood’s lawyers submitted Wood’s declaration stating that she had never coerced Smithline. They also filed formal arguments urging the judge to ignore Smithline’s new declaration, calling it nothing more than a “bad-faith attempt” by Manson’s lawyers to save his “meritless” defamation lawsuit against Wood from being dismissed.

“Documented evidence shows that it was Smithline who reached out to Wood about plaintiff’s abuse more than a year before Smithline now claims defendants somehow convinced her that she was abused,” Wood’s lawyers wrote.

In a statement to Billboard on Tuesday in response to Wood’s new filings, Manson’s attorney Howard King said: “It is unsurprising that Evan Rachel Wood is desperately fighting to keep Ashley Smithline’s testimony out of court – because she knows the truth will expose her plot to manipulate the women who trusted her in order to destroy Brian Warner.”

On top of denying Smithline’s accusations about manipulation, Monday’s filings from Wood and her attorneys also came with explosive new allegations of their own.

In a separate declaration, a supposed friend of Smithline named Karl Neilson stated that he was in possession of a voicemail from July 2022 in which Smithline had told him that Manson’s lawyer, King, had improperly reached out to her directly to discuss the case — and that she was worried he was trying to get her to flip on Manson’s other accusers.

“I have not called back, obviously. Obviously, it’s very clear that a lawyer legally shouldn’t and can’t call me without calling my lawyer directly,” Smithline allegedly said in the voicemail to Neilson.

“The only reason why he would be calling me at all, a week ago, and leaving a message is that he thinks I’m the weak link, and he might want to settle with me to turn on the other girls, and say that it was all, like, a ruse,” Smithline allegedly said in the voicemail to Neilson.

In his statement to Billboard on Tuesday, King flatly denied that he had improperly reached out to Smithline.

“I never discussed Ashley Smithline’s claims against Brian Warner until after she had reached out to me and terminated her counsel,” King said. “Moreover, when Ms. Smithline recently spoke with me for almost two hours, we taped the conversation in full and that recording proves that every single thing in her declaration was taken from her words, not mine.”

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