Last year, Robert De Niro filed a $6 million lawsuit that made for some crazy headlines. Specifically, he accused a former employee of “breaching her fiduciary duties” by putting hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal expenses on the company card, transferring millions of company frequent flyer miles, and perhaps most outrageously, binge-watching “astounding hours of TV shows on Netflix,” including 55 episodes of Friends.
But that might not even be the half of it, because according to a letter to a federal judge Thursday, De Niro brought these same accusations to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Apparently, he wanted the ex-employee criminally prosecuted.
The employee was Graham Chase Robinson, a former vp at De Niro’s Canal Productions.
Robinson would soon file her own lawsuit accusing De Niro of leading an abusive workplace toward women and making gratuitous unwanted physical contact. In Robinson’s view, De Niro was getting out in front of the situation by filing a lawsuit as a retaliatory measure over her claims.
For the past few months, the two have been fighting over which suit proceeds and where — his, in state court, or hers, in federal court.
Finally, this week, De Niro’s lawyer Gregory Bennett told the federal judge that he was prepared to amend the answer to Robinson’s suit and assert counterclaims. She “cannot possibly cite to any facts supporting a plausible argument that the instant application is futile, in bad faith, was unduly delayed or that it would result in any prejudice,” wrote Bennett.
Want to bet?
In a response letter today, Robinson’s lawyer Alexandra Harwin writes the proposed counterclaims are “quintessentially bad faith,” an example of more retaliation.
Harwin asserts that De Niro went to the office of Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. in this feud.
“Documents that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office apparently received from Defendants showed instances of Canal mischaracterizing entire ledgers of charges as improper spending when such charges were actually bona fide work-related expenditures,” writes Harwin. “For example, Canal accused Ms. Robinson of improperly spending thousands of dollars on flowers, but documents reflect that these were purchases for the Canal office, Mr. De Niro’s apartment, parties and events Mr. De Niro hosted, cast on Mr. De Niro’s productions, and other legitimate purchases for Defendants.”
Harwin adds, “After reviewing the scattershot and deficient basis for Canal’s claims against Ms. Robinson and interviewing Mr. De Niro himself, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office closed its investigation and declined to bring any charges against Ms. Robinson.”
Bennett didn’t immediately respond to an opportunity to comment.