Ex-Google star Rubin spars to keep divorce fallout secret


  • TECH
  • Friday, 26 Apr 2019

If you're an Android user, there's a good chance copies of your private photos and videos are being sent to Google's servers through the Photos app. — dpa

Andy Rubin, the Android creator at the centre of a sex harassment scandal at Google, is fighting an uphill battle to block the public release of a lawsuit containing details of alleged sexual misconduct. 

A California state judge on Thursday tentatively concluded that only small portions of a complaint filed by Rubin’s ex-wife can be sealed from public view. Rie Rubin is pushing for full disclosure of Andy Rubin’s involvement with other women, which she says is supported by “emails, texts, videos and photographs”. 

Google has come under attack – first by employees who staged a walkout and later by shareholders who sued – after it was revealed last year that the company gave Rubin a US$90mil (RM373.44mil) severance package in 2014 while he was under investigation for sexually harassing an employee. While at Google, Rubin is also alleged to have engaged in human sex trafficking – paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to women to be, in Rubin’s own words, “owned” by him, according to one of the shareholder suits accusing the Alphabet Inc unit of mismanagement. 

Rubin’s attorneys will have another chance Friday to persuade the judge to keep the complaint sealed. Rie Hirabaru Rubin brought the lawsuit last year – after she had already filed for divorce from Andy Rubin in 2017 – alleging that he coerced her into signing a premarital agreement even as he hid critical facts, including financial assets. 

Andy Rubin’s lawyer maintains Rie is just trying to embarrass him with the information she included in her fraud complaint, including “screenshots purportedly taken from Andrew’s mobile device regarding Andrew’s supposed sex life”, according to a court filing. 

“She recounted at great length deeply personal (and frequently untrue) stories about Andrew’s activities that has but a single purpose – to embarrass him and prejudice” the judge, wrote Brian Schnarr, an attorney for Andy Rubin. 

Other attorneys representing Andy Rubin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday’s ruling. 

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Susan Greenberg said in the tentative decision that she started “with the presumption that court documents are public” and concluded that Andy Rubin didn’t make a persuasive case for keeping the complaint sealed. 

Rie Rubin claims she was pregnant with Andy’s child when he required her to sign a premarital agreement. He then directed her to hire a specific attorney without disclosing that the lawyer was working for him and had represented him in a previous divorce, according to Rie Rubin’s court filing. She’s seeking to annul the prenuptial agreement. 

“Andy Rubin is trying to silence women, in particular his ex-wife, in seeking to keep the entire proceedings in this case under seal,” said Rie Rubin’s lawyer, Brian Danitz, adding that the case is “a matter of great public interest”. 

Rubin ran Google’s powerful mobile division for years before leaving the company almost five years ago and is credited as the creator of the Android operating system. – Bloomberg

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