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What you need to know about Kesha's court battle with Dr. Luke

Pop star Kesha sobbed after she lost her legal battle against Sony on Friday when a judge denied her request to break her contract. The singer sued to leave her record label, Kemosabe Records, which is part of Sony, so she could avoid working with her former producer, Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), whom she has accused of sexual abuse.

Stars like Taylor Swift, who gave Kesha $250,000 for legal fees, and Kelly Clarkson are rallying around the "TiK ToK" singer to show their support.

What are Kesha's allegations against Dr. Luke, exactly? Here's a timeline of their relationship.


2005: Dr. Luke discovers an 18-year-old Kesha and signs her to a record deal on his label, Kemosabe Entertainment.

2008: Kesha gets her big break. Dr. Luke uses her vocals on Flo Rida's song "Right Round," though he does not credit her on the song. Kesha claims she has still never been compensated for it.

2010: Kesha releases album "Animal" under Dr. Luke's label.

2012: The pop star releases album "Warrior" under Dr. Luke's label.

2014: Kesha checks into rehab in January for her eating disorder. Her mother, Pebe Sebert, later says that the pop star almost died from low blood pressure and sodium. Later, Kesha and her mother will claim that the eating disorder was partially caused by Dr. Luke, and that he once called Kesha a "fat f**king refrigerator."

In October, Kesha files a lawsuit against Dr. Luke, alleging he abused her for nearly 10 years. The lawsuit states: "Dr. Luke abused Ms. Sebert in order to destroy her self-confidence, self-image and self-worth so that he could maintain complete control over her life and career."

The accusations claim:

  • Dr. Luke once forced Kesha to "snort an illicit drug" before a flight and then raped her while she was intoxicated and drugged.
  • The producer forced Kesha to drink with him, then gave her what he called "sober pills." Kesha claims she woke up the next day naked in Dr. Luke's bed sore, sick and with no recollection of how she got there.
  • Dr. Luke told Kesha "that if she ever mentioned the rape to anyone, he would shut her career down and otherwise destroy not only her life but her entire family's lives as well."
  • Dr. Luke threatened Kesha physically, and she subsequently ran away from his Malibu home, running barefoot down the Pacific Coast Highway and hiding in the nearby mountains.

In the same month, Dr. Luke hits back with a countersuit, claiming Kesha and her mother made up the allegations in order to get out of an exclusive contract with him. The filing claims that the pop star and her mother are trying to "extort Dr. Luke into releasing Kesha from her exclusive recording agreement with [him]."

"In 2005, [Dr. Luke] discovered Kesha -- who at the time was completely unknown -- and signed her to a record deal," continues the filing. "He proceeded to devote significant time and effort into her career, ultimately turning her into the prominent platinum-selling artist that she is today."

2016: In February, Kesha goes to court and her attorney, Mark Geragos, argues that it was Dr. Luke's "end game to destroy her" and files an injunction for Kesha to be released from her contract, saying that Sony is not likely to support Kesha after her controversy with Dr. Luke, saying, "They are setting her up to fail."

Justice Shirley Kornreich denies the request, pointing out that Kesha has been permitted to record without Dr. Luke. She says, "It's not in Sony's best interest to make no money. Are you really saying they are not going to promote her [music]?" She adds that she will not "decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated."

"There has been no showing of irreparable harm," the judge adds. "She's being given opportunity to record."

Kornreich reviews Kesha's counterclaims about the sexual abuse and harassment she alleges from Dr. Luke, and declines to dismiss the counterclaims until Kesha's camp provides more evidence.

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com