A University of Pennsylvania Constitutional Law Professor believes the tarot card reading Texas TikToker could be in legal trouble beyond a defamation lawsuit.
Rebecca Scofield, an associate professor and the chair of the history department at the University of Idaho, slammed TikTok personality Ashley Guillard with a lawsuit earlier this month for defamation, after Guillard recorded numerous TikToks linking Scofield to the murders of four university students who were stabbed to death in November.
Despite receiving a lawsuit, and investigators ruling out the professor as a suspect in the quadruple murder, Guillard has doubled-down on her claims. “They will see in court why it is true,” Guillard told NewsNation. “When I go to court and they see the evidence or they see how I connect the dots, then they’ll make a decision as it pertains to whether they want to continue to live in blinders or believe it,” Guillard said. “If they don’t, I don’t care.”
Following Guillard’s NewsNation interview, Constitutional Law professor Kermit Roosevelt envisioned a chain of events in which continuing the false claims against Scofield could land Guillard behind bars. “You have the crazy world of the internet where people are taken in by conspiracy theories,” Roosevelt said on Law&Crime’s Sidebar podcast. “It’s very hard to undo something like this.”
“Wouldn’t there be some order she has to stop saying this?” Sidebar host Jesse Weber asked the professor.
“Eventually you can get an injunction against it,” the professor explained. “And then if she defies the injunction, you can get contempt of court. And so eventually it could turn into a criminal offense.”
Guillard does not have an attorney of record listed on the court’s docket.
To make matters even bleaker for Guillard, Roosevelt believes she has zero evidence. “I can’t think of anything,” Roosevelt said about potential evidence Guillard might have. “There’s nothing I’ve seen in the videos. As far as I know, it’s from tarot cards, and you can sincerely believe your tarot cards, but you are negligent at the least,” Roosevelt explained.
The University of Idaho, while not involved in the litigation, also denounced the accusations against their professor. “Speculation and rumors do not help the investigation or the families,” Kyle Pfannenstiel, a spokesperson for the university, said in a statement emailed to Law&Crime. “While this lawsuit is a private matter, U of I does not condone spreading false information and finds this particular allegation to be one of the worst we have seen.”
A lawyer for the professor also issued a statement about the impact of Guillard’s TikTok account.
“The statements made about Professor Scofield are false, plain and simple,” Scofield’s lawyer Wendy Olson said in a statement emailed to Law&Crime after the lawsuit was filed. “What’s even worse is that these untrue statements create safety issues for the Professor and her family. They also further compound the trauma that the families of the victims are experiencing and undermine law enforcement efforts to find the people responsible in order to provide answers to the families and the public. Professor Scofield twice sent cease and desist letters to Ms. Guillard, but Ms. Guillard has continued to make false statements, knowing they are false. Thus, this lawsuit became necessary to protect Professor Scofield’s safety and her reputation.”
[Watch above via Law&Crime Sidebar Podcast.]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]