Kesha has been ordered to pay Dr. Luke $373,671.88 in interest for late payments on unpaid royalties, in a partial ruling of a lawsuit the producer, born Lukasz Gottwald, brought against her. The judge who issued the ruling also determined that the singer defamed her former producer and label head in a text message she allegedly sent to Lady Gaga claiming Gottwald had also raped Katy Perry. Both Gottwald and Perry have denied that claim; the producer has further denied the claims Kesha made that he sexually assaulted her in 2005 and was emotionally abusive during a professional relationship that spanned several years after that alleged incident. Kesha's team has already indicated that they plan on appealing the ruling.
The legal battle between the singer and her former producer, who signed her to his recording company Kasz Money, Inc., 15 years ago, has shifted dramatically over the course of several years. In 2014, Kesha sued Gottwald and accused him of giving her a date-rape drug at a party in 2005 and raping her; she also petitioned to be let out of the six-album contract she had signed earlier that same year. Gottwald counter-filed a defamation suit in response.
The ruling, issued by New York judge Jennifer Schecter on Thursday (February 6), is only one part of the battle to come; as the Washington Post reports, it will be up to a jury to issue a verdict for the remainder of the singer's claims. "Perry unequivocally testified that Gottwald did not [rape her]," the judge wrote in her statement. "In response, Kesha has not raised a triable issue. There is no evidence whatsoever that Gottwald raped Katy Perry, or that Katy Perry, whose sworn testimony is unrefuted, must not be believed."
In a statement provided to E!, Kesha's legal team said, "We disagree with the Court's rulings. We plan to immediately appeal." Meanwhile, Gottwald's lawyer called the ruling an "important decision" that "brings him closer to the justice that he seeks."
Kesha released High Road, her fourth album from RCA and Gottwald's former imprint Kemosabe Records, last week (January 31). (Gottwald stepped down as CEO of the label in 2017.) In 2016, Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to the singer for help with legal fees. Several lawsuits in California, Tennessee, and New York have either been dismissed, dropped, or stayed in the years since Kesha initially filed her first suit in California.