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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 10:03 GMT
Officer allowed to sue Michael
George Michael
The singer accused police officers of "entrapment"
The police officer who arrested George Michael for lewd behaviour in a public toilet has been given the go-ahead to sue the singer for slander.

An appeals court said Marcelo Rodriguez could re-launch a $10m (6m) lawsuit against the star over accusations made in the press and a pop video.

Mr Rodriguez went undercover to arrest Michael in Beverly Hills in 1998.

Will Rogers Memorial Park restroom, where George Michael was arrested for lewd conduct
Michael was arrested in the Will Rogers Memorial Park restroom
On Tuesday, a panel of judges ruled that Michael could be sued because he accused the officer of specific acts.

"Michael made the statements in the context of a number of television and magazine interviews in which he sought to defend and vindicate himself," the ruling said.

"Michael's statements went well beyond generalised accusations or subjective comments."

The ruling overturned a previous decision that Mr Rodriguez could not take legal action because public figures like police officers are not entitled to sue.

After the arrest, the singer defended himself by saying he was "entrapped" by Mr Rodriguez.

The officer also claimed Michael ridiculed him in a song about the arrest, Outside.

The video featured a light-hearted reconstruction of events with male dancers in police uniforms.

'Pain and suffering'

The original lawsuit, filed in 1999, said Michael showed "reckless disregard for the truth" and behaved with "personal animosity, hatred and ill will" towards the officer.

It also said Mr Rodriguez was left with "severe injury and shock to his nervous system and person, and great mental and physical pain and suffering".

After he was arrested, Michael pleaded no contest to a charge of committing a "lewd act", was fined $810 and ordered to perform 80 hours community service.

In March 2002, he explained his actions by saying he put himself in a situation where he wanted to be caught to "make my life about me".

Michael's arrest led to him being publicly outed as gay after years of mystery surrounding his sexuality.

See also:

18 Mar 02 | Entertainment
25 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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17 Feb 00 | Americas
14 Sep 99 | Entertainment
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