Third Hollywood Power Player Files Motion to Dismiss Sex Abuse Lawsuit
The Daily Beast
May 22, 2014
Broadway producer Gary Goddard has become the third of a quartet of Hollywood power players accused of sexual abuse and assault to file a motion to have the case dismissed, The Daily Beast can exclusively reveal.
The X-Men director Bryan Singer and former Walt Disney Television president David Neuman have already filed similar motions.
The motion was filed today by Goddard’s legal representatives, the Weintraub/Tobin law firm, in the federal court in Hawaii. Goddard was accused of abusing Michael Egan in Hawaii when Egan was a teenager. Egan, now 31, launched a headline-garnering lawsuit, accusing four men (the last is former NBC and WB executive Garth Ancier) of sexual abuse and assault.
“Gary Goddard’s sworn declaration, supported by detailed evidence, confirms that he was never in Hawaii during the period of time that Michael Egan alleges he was abused,” Alan Grodin and Paul Gaspari, Goddard’s lawyers, told The Daily Beast in a statement. “And it is supported by Egan’s own sworn deposition confirming that he was not in Hawaii either, and that no one other than those he accused in 2003 – which did not include Gary Goddard – had ever allegedly assaulted him. We have consistently asserted throughout this whole unfortunate matter that our client vehemently rejects the allegations made against him, which are provably false.”
Yesterday, The Daily Beast revealed that Egan had, according to his lawyer Jeff Herman, passed a polygraph test. Hours later, Marty Singer, Bryan Singer’s lawyer, filed a motion to have the case dismissed.
Singer filed the motion to dismiss Michael Egan’s lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction, quoting Egan’s deposition from an earlier 2003 lawsuit to claim that Singer was not in Hawaii at the time Egan said he had been abused four years previously, and that Singer had never abused Egan.
Singer’s motion to dismiss includes a statement from Bryan Singer, claiming that at the time he was alleged to have been in Hawaii, he was filming X-Men in Canada, except for a business trip to California and a family-related trip to New England.
Singer’s motion also contends the recent lawsuit was timed to maximize publicity around this Friday’s release of X-Men: Days of Future Past. The motion claims the timing of Egan’s 2014 lawsuit and its “sordid (and provably false) allegations are nothing more than tools being used to embarrass, harass, and pressure Singer,” in order to “precipitate a shakedown of a perceived ‘deep pocket.’”
Of Singer’s motion, Jeff Herman, Egan’s lawyer, told The Daily Beast in a statement: “I do have a response, but I am restricted in that I can only talk about what is in the court record. Many of the things being reported are being taken out of context or you’re only hearing one side of the story. At the appropriate time and in the appropriate venue, we will respond.”
In recent weeks, the momentum in the Singer sex scandal legal drama has seemed to be moving in favor of the X-Men director and three other Hollywood power players. The credibility of Egan, one of two men accusing the men of sexual abuse and assault, had been called into question by apparent contradictions in testimonies he had given.
But on Wednesday, Herman told The Daily Beast that his client had taken and passed a polygraph test “relating to the allegations he had made.” Herman declined to offer clarification on the question or questions Egan, 31, was asked in the test, when the test was conducted, by whom, and at whose instigation he undertook it.
Marty Singer, Bryan Singer’s lawyer (who is not related to the director), dismissed the test “as a desperate attempt by Mr. Egan to resurrect his baseless claims against Mr. Singer.” The timing of the test, added Singer, is key: “It’s very suspicious. If you spoke to hundreds and thousands of lawyers across America, I don’t think any one would ask their client to take a lie detector test before filing a lawsuit, unless they thought their client was not telling the truth.”
Correspondingly, if Egan took the test after the lawsuit was filed, Singer added, the implication was that Herman did not have faith in his evidence. “Anyway,” added Singer, “passing a lie detector test is no big deal. Anybody can tell you or coach you into how to do it.”
Bryan Singer and the other men named in Egan’s lawsuit–Goddard, Neuman, and Ancier–have all strenuously denied allegations that they variously abused or assaulted Egan when he was a teenager in Hawaii, and at a property in Encino, California.
As The Daily Beast exclusively reported, Singer and Goddard were accused of sexually assaulting a British teenager in another lawsuit filed May 4. Again, both men strenuously deny those claims, but have not yet sought to have the suit dismissed. Marty Singer on Wednesday reiterated to The Daily Beast that Egan’s claims of forcible sodomy and drug-taking against Bryan Singer were “malicious, false and defamatory.”
The latest developments unfolded as the spotlight turned to X-Men: Days of Future Past, Singer’s latest X-Men movie, which is released on Friday. Singer has absented himself from publicity for the film, claiming he did not want “fictitious claims” to divert attention from the highly anticipated summer blockbuster.
The credibility of Egan was called into question most directly by a 2003 deposition, which appears to contradict his most recent assertions of sexual assault and abuse.
In the deposition, which related to a 2000 lawsuit, Egan said he had never left the continental United States, which seemed to contradict his 2014 claim that the abuse took place in Hawaii.
The 2000 lawsuit, which did not name Singer, related to claims of sexual assault and abuse made against Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) founder Marc Collins-Rector, his then-partner Chad Shackley—who both lived on the Encino estate where underage sex parties allegedly took place—and Brock Pierce, DEN’s one-time vice president. Egan and the other plaintiffs won a $4.5 million judgment in that lawsuit.
In the 2003 deposition, Egan is quoted as saying that Neuman did not sexually molest him: “I have never had any kind of physical contact with David Neuman other than what is normal and appropriate between non-sexual acquaintances.” In the 2014 suit, Egan claims Neuman was one of those who sexually assaulted him.
In light of Egan’s quoted assertions in the 2003 deposition, Neuman’s lawyers have filed a motion to have the lawsuit against him dismissed. The Los Angeles Times reported that Neuman’s motion also includes six sworn declarations from individuals who say Neuman was never in Hawaii with Egan.
Marty Singer, who says Egan’s 2003 deposition also exonerates Bryan Singer, told The Daily Beast that a lie detector test taken now “would not have any impact legally in regards to major admissions made in 2003 by Mr. Egan under penalty of perjury.”
In 2012, Hawaii extended the statute of limitations for bringing allegations of child sex abuse. Neuman’s legal team said Herman and Egan were using that law “as the vehicle to publicly defame and embarrass a California resident (Mr. Neuman), in the hope that Mr. Neuman, rather than fight these blatantly false and frivolous claims, will simply pay the Plaintiff to go away.”
When contacted on Wednesday, attorneys for Gary Goddard declined to provide any further additional information on pending allegations to The Daily Beast beyond their last statement on May 14. That statement, in response to the apparent contradictions in Egan’s 2003 deposition, read: “His [Egan’s] testimony corroborates what we have been saying since this fabricated claim was first made—that Gary Goddard was never in Hawaii with Michael Egan, and never assaulted him in any way. This sworn testimony confirms that Michael Egan was never in Hawaii, and he has testified under oath that no one other than those he accused in the 2000 lawsuit, which did not include Gary Goddard, ever assaulted him. The allegations against Gary Goddard are provably false.”
In a May 8 letter to Herman, Marty Singer made clear his intention to sue Herman for malicious prosecution, demanded Egan’s lawyer withdraw the lawsuits he was pursuing, and also accused him of grandstanding.
“You seek to preen for the media in an effort to solicit new clients, ultimately looking for a payday for yourself,” Marty Singer wrote in the scathing letter.
Herman told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that he was “investigating other claims” in the wake of the publicity generated by the announcement of the lawsuits. “I cannot mention specific defendants, but I am investigating other claims,” he said. He would not say what or who those claims related to. “I want to let the evidence speak for itself in the courts,” he said.
Herman had previously told The Daily Beast that “dozens and dozens and dozens of victims” alleging sexual assault and abuse by other “big names” in the movie industry had come forward in a development utterly unrelated to the Singer—and other defendants’—lawsuits. What he called a “sex ring” cut across all of Hollywood: “studios, agents, directors, producers, and actors,” Herman said.
The lawyer, who says he won’t be “bullied” by his opponents into dropping the lawsuits, maintains his belief in his existing two clients’ suits, he reiterated to The Daily Beast, Wednesday. “We’re moving forward. There are no changes to the cases. We’re continuing to gather evidence. My clients maintain those situations took place as they originally alleged.”
Herman would not respond to specific questions about the lawsuits raised by the recent news reports and Egan’s apparently contradictory testimonies.
Marty Singer told The Daily Beast that if, as he hoped, a judge dismissed the lawsuits against Bryan Singer, he would pursue a case of malicious prosecution against Egan. On whether he would pursue a similar case against Herman, Singer was more circumspect than his blistering letter of May 8. “We would have to see what evidence he was presented with, and in what way, by his client before considering that,” he said.