5:56pm PT by Eriq Gardner
John Travolta Accuser Threatened with Malicious Prosecution Lawsuit
Marty Singer, the attorney for John Travolta, is threatening to turn the tables on the masseur who is suing the actor for sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
On Friday, an anonymous man sued Travolta for $2 million, claiming that a $200-per-hour massage session ended with Travolta stripping naked, rubbing the man's leg and touching his penis.
In an interview with THR, Singer fires back that the complaint is false and malicious. He says he can prove that Travolta wasn't even in Los Angeles at the time of the alleged Jan. 16 incident, and he promises to sue not only the masseur but also the plaintiff's lawyer for malicious prosecution.
Here's a copy of the anonymous plaintiff's lawsuit against Travolta.
According to the complaint, after Travolta touched the man's private parts, the actor was told to stop. Travolta is alleged to have begun apologizing, saying the two men "must have gotten our signals crossed," before proposing a "reverse massage" where the two would switch places and Travolta would perform a sexual act on the man. The complaint gets even more lurid, including innuendo from early Travolta's career -- allegedly there were sexual favors made by Travolta in the Welcome Back, Kotter days -- and ends with the masseur being paid $800, twice what he was owed for the two hours spent.
It's now up to Singer to fight back against the allegations. As he has proved for clients including Charlie Sheen and Arnold Schwarzenegger, fighting this type of lawsuit is his specialty.
Singer tells THR that the first step in dealing with a lawsuit like this is to bring a motion that forces the plaintiff to reveal his identity. The attorney hints that the only reason the plaintiff's name isn't listed in the complaint is his attempt to keep something private. Singer may or may not know something about the plaintiff, but he says this isn't the type of case where someone can sue confidentially.
Travolta's lawyer also throws some blame at Okorie Okorocha, the lawyer representing the anonymous plaintiff. Singer says that Okorocha was consulted before bringing the lawsuit and was warned about the consequences of filing suit. But Okorocha decided to go after "15 minutes of fame as a lawyer" by filing a claim and "making it very salacious," according to Singer.
"There is a heightened standard for a lawyer suing a celebrity and knowing the media will pick it up," says Singer. "The lawyer can't just rely on the client. He needs to do an investigation and has an obligation to do due diligence."
We reached out to Okorocha, who hasn't responded yet to our request for comment.
Singer adds that no malicious-prosecution claim can be made before first defeating the plaintiff's claim, so he'll be filing a motion for summary judgment. If Travolta does beat the case, Singer will be suing both the accuser and his attorney for filing a lawsuit without any foundation or concern for reputation. He'll also seek punitive damages.
The next step is determining whether the plaintiff will be publicly revealed.
According to the complaint, anonymity is warranted because Travolta is a "famous and powerful celebrity," and the allegations "could form the basis of ruining the Plaintiff's career, and that Travolta will experience no prejudice by the continued anonymity."
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