Bryan Singer Accuser's Attorney Permitted to Withdraw From Case
On Wednesday, a Hawaii federal judge allowed attorney Jeff Herman to withdraw from a teen sex abuse case against X-Men director Bryan Singer. The judge also deferred a decision on whether to allow plaintiff Michael Egan to withdraw the case under circumstances that might allow it to be refiled.
Instead, on Sept. 9, the court will decide on Singer’s motion to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning that it could not be refiled, and on Egan’s competing motion to dismiss without prejudice.
Egan had urged that Herman be forced to remain in the case, but the judge apparently rejected that argument. In his motion to withdraw, Herman said that the attorney-client relationship had broken down and that Egan was requiring that he funnel his communications through Egan’s new counsel.
However, Egan filed his motion himself, without naming any lawyers. It’s unclear whether the new lawyers will activate four Los Angeles lawsuits that Herman filed for Egan against anonymous defendants. The language in the complaints seems to suggest that the anonymous defendants are the same as the Hawaii defendants, but as yet no one has been named.
It’s also possible that the new lawyers might try to reach settlements with the four defendants without formally pursuing the Los Angeles cases — and even that they might sue Herman, if Egan feels that Herman didn’t adequately represent him.
Egan has already withdrawn without prejudice Hawaii cases against the other three defendants: Gary Goddard, David Neuman and Garth Ancier.
Those dismissals came as the cases — which claimed teen sex abuse at parties at Hawaii and Los Angeles mansions in 1997-1999 — appeared to collapse under the weight of Egan’s own prior sworn statements from 2003, in which he said that he’d never been to Hawaii and that no one other than the occupants of the Los Angeles mansion had sexually molested him. He had even signed a statement in 2003 that he’d never had sexual contact with Neuman. In addition, several of the defendants filed evidence such as credit card receipts and witness declarations to show that they hadn’t been in Hawaii during the period in question.
All that remains of the cases Herman filed on behalf of Egan are the original Hawaii case against Singer and the Los Angeles cases against the anonymous defendants. Also pending is a Los Angeles case Herman filed for an anonymous plaintiff known as John Doe 117 against Singer and Goddard. Singer was dismissed from the case at the end of July. Goddard’s motion to dismiss will be argued Aug. 18.
Meanwhile, Egan and Herman are now both defendants themselves, in a malicious prosecution suit filed by Ancier. Herman, who was previously suspended by the Florida Supreme Court for 18 months and was separately barred for life from appearing in an Oregon federal court, has filed an answer denying liability. Egan was served with the suit Thursday in a Las Vegas casino men’s room after evading process servers for five weeks, according to Ancier.
In addition, if Singer is successful in getting the case dismissed, that could be the prelude to filing a malicious prosecution action of his own against Egan and Herman. His counsel declined to comment.
It was not possible to reach Egan, and Herman previously did not respond to a request for comment.