Magic Man

David Copperfield tries to make a lawsuit disappear.

He made a train and the Statue of Liberty disappear. For his next feat, David Copperfield is attempting to make a lawsuit vanish in the midst of a Seattle courtroom. Having recently scored a legal victory in the suit brought by a Kirkland woman who alleges Copperfield raped her in 2007 on his private Caribbean island, the world-famed illusionist has now asked a federal judge to dismiss the woman's claim altogether. Attorneys for Copperfield (born David Kotkin), 53, say waitress, model, and former Miss Washington U.S.A. Lacey Carroll, 23, has not stated a viable claim for relief and cannot do so because she is unable to show that the basis for the lawsuit—that he "lured" her to the island—is in fact true. "The alleged misrepresentations underlying her claim—that her trip to Copperfield's island would involve promotional or modeling activities, that others would be on the island at the same time, and that she would be able to contact her family during the trip—cannot be the bases for a fraud claim because they are not statements of existing fact." Carroll, who herself is facing court allegations of prostitution filed by King County prosecutors, has not yet responded to Copperfield's latest move in her 2009 civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages. The suit had been put in limbo while the FBI investigated allegations against Copperfield. The agency this year announced no criminal charges would be filed. Last month a federal judge reinstated Carroll's suit, but also granted Copperfield's request to prevent Carroll from obtaining any evidence that had been gathered by the FBI. That created a presumably difficult task for Carroll, who must now request such evidence through the laborious pretrial discovery process. Trial is currently set for July 2011. Carroll's suit accuses Copperfield of fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault, and false imprisonment. She says she was "damaged as a consequence" of Copperfield's alleged misrepresentations, and "sustained past general and special damages and will sustain future general and special damages," including emotional and psychological injury and impaired earning capacity. Copperfield's attorneys now say the complaint "is completely devoid of any factual allegation that would support these conclusions...She does not even allege that she had any medical bills," adding: "As plaintiff has failed to allege any pecuniary harm (or any harm at all for that matter) proximately caused by Copperfield's alleged [luring] misstatements, her fraud claim cannot stand." Earlier this year, Carroll was charged with prostitution and lying to police about an attempt to solicit a Bellevue businessman. When he refused her alleged offer of $2,000 for sex, she told police he assaulted her. She later refused to cooperate in an investigation, worried that the information could be used against her in the Copperfield lawsuit, prosecutors say. She has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting that trial as well.

 
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