Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Shakespeare was right about lawyers

I haven't always been a fan of Michael Flatley's performance style. And I am disinterested in his personal life. His taste in women as well as his behaviour is atrocious (rather like CLinton).

But I'm in his corner on this. He is being sued by a woman who claims he raped her. He claimed they had consensual sex. Nothing unusual about this - it happens all the time. The man can be in big trouble here - especially if he is a celebrity since even if he wins in the courtroom he loses in the court of public opinion.

A common tactic is to threaten the man with negative publicity in the media hoping for a settlement. That is what the accuser, Tyna Marie Robertson did in this case - big time.

25 days after having sex with Flatley Robertson called Las Vegas police to report that she was raped. Flatley was never charged. Later Robertson filed a $33 million civil sexual assault suit against him. Then in January 2003, her attorney Mauro sent Flatley a letter on Robertson's behalf in which he demanded a "seven figure" settlement; his fee would be 40 percent.

Without a settlement, Mauro stated that Robertson would pursue criminal charges. Moreover, he would file a civil suit and go public with allegations that would "ruin" Flatley.
Court documents show he threatened to send news releases to media outlets such as Fox News and the Chicago Tribune. He continued, "Any and all information, including Immigration, Social Security Issuances and Use, and IRS and various State Tax Levies and information will be exposed.We are positive the media worldwide will enjoy what they find." Later he said, "I know the tour dates [of Flatley's shows]; I am not kidding about this; it will be publicized every place [the dancer] goes for the rest of his life."

It has since been disclosed that Robertson has a history of suing high-profile celebrities.

As a result of these threats Flatley has countersued - not only Roberson but her attorney Mauro as well. On Sept. 2, 2004, the 2nd District California Court of Appeal found, "Mr. Mauro has effectively conceded and it is undisputed his speech and conduct are crimes. No prima facie showing has been made that Mr. Mauro's speech and conduct are anything other than unprotected acts of extortion."

Extortion - finally an attorney is getting his due.

As Wendy McElroy (Fox News) said; "A high-profile case on the accountability of attorneys would be good news. At least it would be for people who believe, as I do, that some attorneys appear to be out-of-control and almost immune from consequences for their intentional, wrongful acts."


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