John Brunner, one of four Republicans running for governor, is being sued by a California venture capitalist for calling him the “owner of a teenage sex slave” during a recent debate.
Michael Goguen, a Silicon Valley investor, has donated $1 million to Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who is also running in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Earlier this year he was sued by a woman who claims he sexually abused her for more than a decade, agreed to pay her $40 million in response and then only gave her $10 million.
Goguen has vehemently denied the allegation and is counter suing the woman alleging extortion.
The allegations have surfaced at several GOP gubernatorial debates, with Greitens’ rivals demanding he return Goguen’s donations. In his closing statement during the last debate, Brunner hammered Greitens on the donations, saying “I refuse to be lectured by a guy who took $1 million from the owner of a teenage sex slave.”
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Goguen’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the St. Charles County Circuit Court, notes that the woman involved was not a teenager and never alleged Goguen “owned” her. Goguen’s attorney asked Brunner to retract his statement, the lawsuit notes, but their request has been ignored.
The lawsuit alleges Brunner is trying to smear Goguen “simply because he donated money to one of Mr. Brunner’s political opponents.”
“John Brunner has dragged plaintiff Michael Goguen’s name and reputation through the mud in a transparent effort to score political points in his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor of Missouri,” the lawsuit says.
Brunner’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Below is a copy of the lawsuit.