Lurid Allegations in Missouri GOP Primary

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (CN) — A week before Missouri’s primary elections, a California philanthropist claims in court that a Republican gubernatorial candidate defamed him in a debate by claiming that he had a “teenage sex slave.”
     Michael Lewis Goguen sued John Brunner in St. Charles County Court on Tuesday.
     Brunner, a businessman, is in a tight race against former U.S. Attorney Catherine Hannaway, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. The winner in the Tuesday primary will most likely face Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, in November.
     In an email to Courthouse News, a spokesman for Brunner’s campaign called the lawsuit “a desperate attempt” to divert Missourians’ attention from the fact that Goguen’s preferred candidate, Greitens, “is a lifelong liberal Democrat.”
     In his lawsuit, Goguen describes himself as a “prominent Silicon Valley investor and a prolific philanthropist,” who has given millions of dollars to charities and law enforcement agencies. He also has donated money to Greitens’ campaign.
     “At the most recent primary debate, apparently desperate to save himself from yet another expensive and embarrassing primary loss, Mr. Brunner attacked Mr. Greitens for accepting a campaign contribution from Mr. Goguen, stating, ‘I refuse to be lectured by a guy who took one million dollars from the owner of a teenage sex slave,'” the lawsuit states.
     That statement stems from a March 2016 breach of contract lawsuit that Amber Laurel Baptiste filed against Goguen in San Mateo County Court. Baptiste claims that Goguen owes her $30 million.
     “Ms. Baptiste’s complaint included salacious allegations for which there is no evidentiary support whatsoever including that, as a teenager, she was the victim of human trafficking,” Goguen says in his July 26 lawsuit. “Ms. Baptiste’s complaint did not allege that she had a sexual relationship with Mr. Goguen when she was a teenager, or that she was Mr. Goguen’s ‘teenage sex slave.'”
     Goguen says those allegations have been proven false in court records and that Baptiste, a Canadian resident, has been barred from entering the country due to a sham green card marriage with a Texas man.
     He also claims that Baptiste, whom he met when she was 21, tried to extort $40 million from him for ending their affair.
     “Ms. Baptiste’s behavior has also grown increasingly more erratic and disturbing since she sued Mr. Goguen,” the new lawsuit states. “She recently sent email messages to partners of the law firm representing Mr. Goguen in California praying that their daughters be ‘raped in the street’ and ‘molested.'”
     Baptiste’s March 8 lawsuit contains lurid allegations, including that Goguen agreed to pay her $40 million “for the horrors she suffered at his hands,” but paid her only $10 million.
     In his own lawsuit, Goguen says Baptiste’s lawyers asked to be removed from representing her two days after her recent emails, due to irreconcilable differences, and that the California court granted the request on July 25.
     Goguen claims that Brunner was made aware of these developments on July 15, but did not retract his statements.
     “He made this comment without regard to the truth of the matter or its impact on Mr. Goguen and did so solely for his own, short-term political and personal gain,” the lawsuit states.
     In an email to Courthouse News, Brunner’s campaign called Goguen’s lawsuit a political ploy.
     “This is a desperate attempt by Eric Greitens’ California political benefactor and friend to take attention off of what Missourians are coming to know: Eric Greitens is a lifelong liberal Democrat who drove cross-country to cheer Barack Obama at his Convention and supported Obama’s failed $831 billion ‘stimulus’ and is now attempting to convince Missouri Republicans he’s one of them,” Brunner spokesman Gregg Keller said in the email.
     Goguen seeks punitive damages for defamation. He is represented by James Bennett with Dowd Bennett in St. Louis.
     According to the Forbes magazine website, checked Thursday morning, Goguen works for Sequoia Capital, helped complete some giant deals, and “is an active philanthropist.”

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