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In yet another blow to Michael Egan’s credibility, a Hawaii federal judge told the Hollywood sex accuser “not to lie to me” after Egan falsely claimed in court not to have received assistance with legal papers that in fact had been prepared and filed by a law office. The unusual exchange took place at a Friday hearing in Honolulu and has not previously been reported.
Egan, whose accusations of teen sex abuse against director Bryan Singer and three others collapsed several months ago under the weight of Egan’s own prior sworn, contradictory statements, is now a defendant in a malicious prosecution suit filed by television executive Garth Ancier, who was one of the original defendants.
The Friday hearing – at which Egan appeared in person — concerned the question of whether Egan had help preparing and filing his response to Ancier’s suit. Egan’s claim that he hadn’t was obviously “not true,” judge J. Michael Seabright told Egan, since the documents had been emailed from a law firm, Orange County’s Manly, Stewart & Finaldi. The papers also listed the firm’s office address in place of Egan’s — even though Egan purported to be appearing in court without a lawyer — and the documents read as though prepared by an experienced litigator.
According to a transcript of the hearing obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, when the judge asked Egan what help the firm was providing, Egan answered, “Nothing in this case.” That didn’t sit well with Seabright, who responded sharply, “Well, that’s not true. I mean, facially that’s not true.” He pointed out that the documents had been emailed from the firm, and added, “Don’t say ‘nothing,’ Mr. Egan, okay? … You understand this is a court of law.… You understand if you lie to me you’d get in trouble.”
Egan acknowledged the judge’s statements and apologized, but the exchange continued.
“So be truthful,” said the judge. “I am,” responded Egan.
“Well, no,” interjected Seabright. “You weren’t. Because you said ‘nothing,’ they’re doing nothing. That’s not true.”
Egan then replied that he didn’t know how to file pleadings, so the law firm had helped him with that. This seems to have further angered the judge, who interrupted Egan and said, “You don’t know how to get a stamp and put it on an envelope and write your return address on it and then mail it? You don’t know how to do that?”
Egan conceded that he did, but said, “I’m just at a loss, I’m not an attorney.” Seabright responded, “I’m not buying this.… I’m a smart guy, I get it, and don’t underestimate me.”
Egan finally acknowledged that he’d had substantive help as well, saying that a law clerk had researched and drafted the language in the documents. The law clerk, identified as Trejur Bordenave, was described by the firm’s Vince Finaldi as a law student who no longer works there. A LinkedIn page for Bordenave lists him as a 2014 law graduate who is still at the firm.
The judge allowed Egan’s responsive document — his answer to the suit — to stand, denying Ancier’s motion that it be struck, but said that going forward, Finaldi’s firm would have to either fully represent Egan in the case or not at all and could not engage in any more ghostwriting of pleadings. Finaldi responded, “We will be providing [Egan] no more assistance, because I just can’t incur that kind of liability for the firm.”
That appears to mark the second loss of counsel for Egan, whose prior lawyer, Jeff Herman, withdrew after saying that communication with Egan had broken down and after Ancier sued Egan, Herman and Egan’s former Hawaii lawyer for malicious prosecution and abuse of process.
Herman has his own veracity issues, having been barred for life from appearing in an Oregon federal court by a judge who said Herman had a “credibility problem” and, separately, having been suspended altogether from the practice of law for 18 months by the Florida Supreme Court for actions adverse to a client and “engag[ing] in conduct involving dishonesty [or] deceit.”
Egan, Finaldi, Herman and a spokesman for Ancier did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The roots of Friday’s hearing date back to last April, when Egan and Herman filed against Singer the first of what became eight similar cases, alleging abuse in Los Angeles and Hawaii from 1997 to 1999. The suit, filed in Hawaii and announced at a white-hot Los Angeles press conference, came just weeks before the release of Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and was followed by nearly identical suits in Hawaii against executive Gary Goddard and television executives Ancier and David Neuman, then by four suits in Los Angeles against anonymous defendants that appeared to be mirror images of the Hawaii suits. All four men denied the allegations.
At the time, Herman spoke darkly of a gay Hollywood sex ring that he claimed preyed on young males. The allegations brought intense television and other media coverage and garnered worldwide attention. Singer was forced to withdraw from publicity for the X-Men film.
Egan’s cases crumbled after prior sworn statements from 2003 emerged in which he indicated he had never been to Hawaii, had not been abused by anyone other than three Internet executives he had sued in 2000 and had not, in particular, been abused by Neuman.
All of Egan’s cases have since been withdrawn, and Herman dropped his client.
Herman had also indicated that he expected to bring numerous additional suits, some of which would allege abuse of young males and some of young females. But in the end, the only other suit Herman filed was one against Singer and Goddard on behalf of an anonymous British actor referenced as John Doe 117. He too ultimately withdrew his suit.
Egan reportedly appears in filmmaker Amy Berg’s documentary about Hollywood sex abuse, An Open Secret, which is set to premiere next month at the fifth annual DOC NYC documentary festival in New York.