Michael Goguen
Photograph by Lido Vizzutti — AP
By Dan Primack
July 27, 2016

Former Sequoia Capital partner Michael Goguen is back in the news, but not for his role as a defendant in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by former girlfriend Amber Baptiste, that was much more notable for its multiple claims of sexual abuse. Nor even for his extortion countersuit against Baptiste, whose attorney has since withdrawn from the case.

Instead, Goguen has filed suit against Missouri businessman John Brunner, who is one of four candidates in net Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary in the state, for defamation.

Goguen is a big supporter of Brunner rival Eric Greitens, having donated $1 million to the Greitens campaign before the Baptiste lawsuit emerged. Not surprisingly, all three of Greitens’ rivals have called on the candidate to return Goguen’s donation (he hasn’t), but Brunner went a giant step further, saying in a debate: “I refuse to be lectured by a guy who took $1 million from the owner of a teenage sex slave.”

But no matter if Goguen or Baptiste is telling the truth in their own legal dispute, there is no question that Baptiste was in her early 20’s when she first met Goguen. The venture capitalist also takes issue with the “sex slave” characterization―words that weren’t used in Baptiste’s actual lawsuit―although that’s much fuzzier as she effectively paints herself as such in her complaint.

Goguen recently asked the Brunner campaign for a retraction but did not receive a response. So now he’s suing for defamation in Missouri’s St. Charles County.

The Brunner campaign declined to discuss the situation via phone, instead emailing a political statement that did not at all address the substance of Goguen’s accusation.

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