Ex-Personal Assistant Sues Phil Spector
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Record producer Phil Spector, awaiting trial for murder, is being sued for more than $5 million by his former personal assistant, who claims the creator of rock music’s wall of sound sexually harassed her and had her visit music industry parties to pass out fliers proclaiming his innocence.
The lawsuit by Michelle Blaine is the latest volley in a legal fight that began with Spector suing her and alleging she siphoned off hundreds of thousands of dollars from his accounts.
Now Blaine has countersued, saying that Spector authorized all payments to her including the gift of a $700,000 house, that he sexually harassed her, sometimes appeared naked in front of her and once asked her to find him a prostitute for a night. On one occasion, she said, he invited her to join him and a prostitute in his hotel room. She said she declined.
After he was charged with the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003, Blaine claims that Spector repeatedly proposed marriage to her as a means to prevent her from testifying against him at his criminal trial. She also told of being sent to music industry parties in Los Angeles and New York to pass out fliers proclaiming that Spector did not kill Clarkson, who was shot in the face at the music producer’s suburban Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003.
Attorney Tim Reuben, who filed the counter claim, said he expects to recover millions in punitive damages in addition to the approximately $5.25 million he claims Blaine is owed in actual damages. The lawsuit also names Spector’s lawyers and accountants as defendants.
``We believe there is very, very powerful evidence that Michelle Blaine acted not only appropriately but that she was very, very badly treated by Mr. Spector,″ Reuben said Tuesday.
Spector’s New York attorney, Bruce Cutler, accused Blaine of trying to cover up the fact she stole and embezzled money from his client.
``She stole this money and her final lie is now that it’s hush money,″ Cutler told The Associated Press. ``It’s all a lie.″
Spector’s murder trial was recently postponed until September. The 66-year-old rock music icon has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.
Blaine, who handled Spector’s personal and business interests, was the first person to visit him in jail after Clarkson’s death. She said that soon after his arrest he expanded her duties to include shielding him from the media and attempting to rehabilitate his image.
At one point she tried to quit, Blaine said, but Spector persuaded her to stay by giving her the $700,000 house and offering an employment package that included a $72,000 salary, a $600 a month stipend for use of her car, a retirement plan and a $500,000 life insurance policy.
Things soured, she said, when Spector acquired a new girlfriend who convinced him that Blaine was stealing.
Spector sued Blaine last September, alleging she had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his bank accounts and that the money she used to buy the house was a loan, not a gift.
His suit seeks repayment of the money and payment of unspecified damages.