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Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of the discredited Rolling Stone article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, admitted under oath Thursday that she had made mistakes in her reporting.

Erdely was called to the stand because Rolling Stone is now being sued by U.Va. dean Nicole Eramo, who was negatively portrayed in the now-retracted article.

“It wasn’t a mistake to rely on someone who was so emotionally fragile,” Erdely said after being pressed on if she still felt the accuser in the article was emotionally unstable. “It was a mistake to rely on someone whose intent was to deceive me.”

After the story was exposed as a hoax, Erdely had been told by the publisher of Rolling Stone to write a “mea culpa” detailing her failings in reporting out the story of “Jackie,” the woman who claimed to have been gang-raped. Buzzfeed’s Tyler Kingkade, who has been in the courtroom during the trial, wrote that Erdely’s mea culpa was never published. But in writing the mea culpa, Erdely actually reached out to people described in the article that she didn’t contact while writing the original story.

“Erdely spoke with those three friends who Jackie said would not speak with her — Ryan Duffin, Alex Stock and Kathryn Hendley,” Kingkade wrote. “Hendley informed Erdely that she no longer spoke to Jackie because Jackie had started a rumor that Hendley contracted syphilis. Erdely began to sob as she conceded this point.”

Kingkade wrote that Erdely became more defensive in her testimony later in the afternoon. When Eramo’s attorney asked her why a line about the dean urging Jackie to go to the police after fraternity members allegedly threw a bottle at her was cut from the final draft of the article, Erdely at first said it was cut for length, but then got more defensive.

“This article was not about how the university handles bottle incidents,” Erdely said. “It was about how it handles sexual assault.”

Erdely was also asked if she thought Eramo was negatively portrayed in the article. Erdely responded: “I stand by everything in the article that did not come from Jackie.”

That claim from Erdely might help Eramo, but she still faces an uphill battle in this case. She needs to prove that Rolling Stone and Erdely knew or should have known they were publishing false claims about her. Clearly, Erdely still believes she accurately portrayed Eramo in the article.

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