Copperfield lawyer accuses feds of leak


SEATTLE -- Magician David Copperfield's lawyer has accused federal officials of improperly leaking information about a grand jury investigation to a newspaper.

The Seattle Times reported Saturday that a woman told authorities that Copperfield raped, struck, and threatened her after inviting her to his estate in the Bahamas after claiming he could help her with her modeling career.

Attorney David Chesnoff insists his client has never struck, threatened or forced himself on any woman, and said federal law enforcement officials The Times cited as anonymous sources have disobeyed orders to honor the confidentiality of a grand jury investigation.

"This not only unfairly and falsely defames my client, but it undermines the integrity of the entire investigation," Chesnoff said in a statement released through a Los Angeles public relations agency Sunday.

Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined to comment about the case specifically, but said, "The U.S. Attorney's Office is very careful to honor the confidentiality of the grand jury and we never disclose grand jury material."

No indictment or criminal charges have been filed.

Copperfield's accuser told investigators she and her family were approached by a member of Copperfield's entourage at a Jan. 25 performance in the Tri-Cities area of Eastern Washington, The Times said.

They were given special seats, and Copperfield selected the woman to come on stage as part of his act, The Times reported.

The 21-year-old woman said Copperfield later told her he could help with her modeling career and invited her to his estate in the Bahamas.

The woman said she made the trip in late July, and found she was Copperfield's only guest on the secluded island. She told Seattle police, and later the FBI, that Copperfield raped and struck her, and threatened her when she left after two days, The Times reported, citing sources familiar with her allegations.

On Oct. 17, FBI agents searched Copperfield's warehouse and a casino hotel in Las Vegas, where the magician regularly performs. The FBI has said only that the Las Vegas investigation was part of a Seattle case.

Chesnoff said media outlets, including The Times, earlier corrected reports that the FBI had seized $2 million in cash from Copperfield's Las Vegas warehouse after the FBI issued a statement saying the money had neither been found nor seized.

Chesnoff said his client "is among those rare celebrities with a blemishless past."

"It is very hurtful for him to hear and read these horrible, untrue allegations being made against him by a still unnamed woman," Chesnoff said.