Hollywood talent manager and Atomic Blonde producer David Guillod is heading to trial over allegations he sexually assaulted Ted actress Jessica Barth when she was intoxicated and unconscious following a dinner meeting in May 2012, a judge ruled Monday.
But in a split decision legal experts called “unusual,” the judge in Santa Maria, California, rejected charges related to four other Jane Doe accusers in Guillod’s high-profile case. Santa Barbara County Judge James Voysey questioned the credibility of the four women based on what they purportedly said or did in the hours immediately following their alleged assaults.
Beyond Barth, the only other Jane Doe whose allegations survived the Monday hearing is an unidentified woman who claims Guillod raped and sodomized her in late 2018 after meeting her at the Los Angeles restaurant where she worked as a waitress. The unidentified woman told investigators Guillod lured her back to his nearby Sherman Oaks residence by claiming his daughter would be present as they continued a conversation that started over two glasses of wine at her workplace. The woman alleges Guillod, now 55, served her a third glass of wine at his home, and shortly thereafter, she started to black out.
“After that, her memory got fuzzy, in bits and pieces,” Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian said in her closing argument Monday. In flashes, Jane Doe 5 could recall Guillod kissing her and “feeling disgusted,” the prosecutor said. “She remembers [Guillod] having vaginal intercourse with her and being flipped over and sodomized aggressively.”
Guillod’s defense lawyer, Philip Cohen, attacked the credibility of all six accusers during his closing arguments Monday. In the case of the waitress, he said the woman purportedly told an investigator that she waited two years to report the alleged rape because at first, she “wrote it off” as “you got fucked up and this disgusting old man enjoyed you.”
Judge Voysey said Monday that he didn’t have “the benefit of statements made by the witness directly after the incident” before making his decision to send Jane Doe 5’s claims to trial. “I just have a very horrific story that she told,” the judge said. “Is it proof beyond a reasonable doubt? I don’t know. Is it probable cause? Yes.”
In the case of Barth, Judge Voysey said he found probable cause after reading the text messages that Barth — who has spoken publicly about her case but was identified as Jane Doe 2 during the hearing — sent to fellow actress Felicia Terrell and Guillod shortly after the alleged assault, the same day she visited the UCLA Rape Center for a four-hour sex assault exam.
“What I take a look at is what happened right after the event happened,” the judge said. “[Barth’s] statements on May 23, 2012, are very consistent with what she has stated, about being so intoxicated she didn’t remember what happened.”
“I remember zero from last night and I feel like he took advantage of me,” Judge Voysey said, reading one of Barth’s texts to Terrell out loud in court.
But when it came to the four other Jane Does — who allege they were raped by Guillod while intoxicated and unconscious between 2014 and 2020 — Judge Voysey said he couldn’t find probable cause.
In the case of Jane Doe 1, Judge Voysey said he simply couldn’t believe that the young assistant was raped by Guillod in December 2014 following a night of heavy drinking because the 21-year-old woman remained at the work retreat in Santa Barbara’s wine country for the remainder of the weekend, rather than flee the Buellton Marriott hotel to get away from Guillod, who was 47 and a high-ranking boss at her employer at the time, Intellectual Artist Management.
None of the Jane Does testified at the preliminary hearing that ended Monday, and Judge Voysey claimed that precluded him from assessing their credibility. In the case of Jane Doe 1, the judge said he instead relied on a statement from retreat attendee Jeff Morrone, an executive at Intellectual Artist Management who purportedly said he witnessed Jane Doe 1 “cuddling” with Guillod the day after the alleged attack.
Deputy District Attorney Alexander Harrison told the court that Morrone’s statement was “in conflict” with a different company executive identified as Rebecca Ewing. Harrison said Ewing recalled Jane Doe 1 acting quiet and withdrawn the next day, looking out of character in a hoodie with no makeup. Harrison said Ewing also recalled that the women and men were separated the next day and that she took a photograph showing Jane Doe 1 at the opposite end of the table from Guillod.
“There’s reason to be suspicious of [Morrone’s] statement,” Harrison said. “To turn it into something consensual reduces [the company’s] liability. I’d ask the court to consider, he had an incentive to minimize the nonconsensual nature of the act.”
Judge Voysey held firm on his order.
“When I hear an allegation of rape, I look at the facts,” he said. “She was highly intoxicated. She was dancing on the tables. She drank 10 glasses of wine. Her dress was hiked up so everybody could see her undergarments. Her behavior was outrageous. She was outrageously drunk. But look what happened the next day. If she felt something had been done to her, she would not have stayed there. That was Saturday night. She would have gone back to L.A. and said, ‘I’ve had enough of this. I’m done with this,’ and left. That would have been logical and consistent for somebody who felt they had been raped.”
“I looked at what she did. She went back. She ‘cuddled’ with him,” the judge continued. “I just don’t find her credible because of that behavior.”
Judge Voysey also rejected the rape allegations from two Jane Does who claim Guillod raped them on the same night in January 2015 after giving them wine allegedly laced with something. He cited the women’s messages with Guillod after the incident, which were pleasant and did not accuse him of any wrongdoing.
The case of Jane Doe 6 involved an unidentified Russian woman who met Guillod on the dating app Luxy in 2020, while he was out of custody on $1 million bail after pleading not guilty to the alleged attacks on the first four Jane Does.
The woman, who was 28 at the time, while Guillod was 53, told investigators she blacked out after drinking wine at Guillod’s house on a second date and woke up to find him having sex with her. In his closing argument, Cohen argued that the woman recalled telling Guillod that she did not consent to anal penetration, and that Guillod complied. He also highlighted a text exchange from later that morning in which Guillod wrote, “had a great time, hope you did too,” and the woman purportedly responded, “me too, goodnight.”
Monday’s outcome means Guillod is no longer facing a possible life sentence in the case. Judge Voysey said that with the surviving charges, Guillod’s $2 million bail would be reduced to $100,000. Guillod was ordered back to court June 14 for arraignment on the eight counts related to Barth and Jane Doe 5.
Santa Barbara County prosecutors, meanwhile, have multiple options to revive the case, experts tell Rolling Stone. They could ask the trial judge newly assigned to the case to review and possibly overturn Judge Voysey’s decision. They could file a new case and mount a new preliminary hearing, possibly calling the Jane Does to the witness stand this time. Or they could try going the route of a secret grand jury.
“My office is going to evaluate the case in light of Judge Voysey’s rulings and decide how to move forward from here,” Karapetian tells Rolling Stone.
“I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if they refiled so they can argue to a different judge,” Samuel Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor in Los Angeles County now representing victims in civil cases, says.
“They’ll probably be hoping a different judge will have a better appreciation for how people don’t always react the way you expect because of confusion or stigma,” he tells Rolling Stone. “It’s not uncommon for the survivor to not appreciate yet or even process what really happened. They’re often very confused. It takes several days for them to relive and think through what happened. So it’s not uncommon for them to still seem like they’re still intimate with someone, cuddling or holding hands, because they’re still processing. They’re unsure. They don’t come out yelling and screaming, ‘I’ve just been raped, don’t touch me.’ They’re still processing. It takes days if not weeks if not even longer.”
In the case of Jane Doe 1, she visited the UCLA Rape Center on Dec. 16, 2014, two days after the alleged attack.
“It’s unusual to have a case like this dismissed at prelim because the standard of proof is much lower than the ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt’ required at trial,” lawyer Leonard Levine, a high-powered defense attorney not associated with this case, tells Rolling Stone.
“It’s very unusual to dismiss a rape case like this — where the allegation is, ‘He raped me’ — based on how [an alleged victim] acted afterwards,” Levine says. “If this case were to go to trial, prosecutors would put on a rape trauma expert who would testify that this it is not uncommon, that women don’t know what happened, they’re embarrassed or afraid, some women even go out with the rapist again for a variety of reasons. So, there are a lot of psychological reasons why, in the opinion of some experts, this would occur. As a defense attorney, I would argue, there’s another reasonable interpretation: It didn’t happen. But those things usually are argued before a jury. To have a judge make that finding, especially without the credibility of the witness available [through live testimony], is unusual.”
Barth first detailed her allegations against Guillod in a 2017 guest column in The Wrap. She didn’t name him in her original post, but she identified him publicly a few days later, telling The Wrap that another alleged victim read her piece and reached out with Guillod’s name in the subject line of an email.