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Wednesday, April 14, 1999 Published at 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK


Yoko Ono sues former Lennon aide

John Lennon: Seaman pleaded guilty in 1983 to stealing his diaries

John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono is suing a former assistant to the musician, claiming he stole priceless personal items after Lennon was killed.

In a federal lawsuit filed in New York, Ono claims Fred Seaman agreed in 1983 to return boxes of Lennon's personal items, but he has held on to hundreds of photographs.

The lawsuit was prompted by Seaman accusing Capitol Records of copyright infringement by using a picture of Lennon with his son Sean in a compact disc box set. He claims he shot the photograph himself. The company is suing Seaman separately.

[ image: Yoko Ono: Alleges Seaman is continuing to show off personal items]
Yoko Ono: Alleges Seaman is continuing to show off personal items
Seaman, who worked for the family from 1979 to 1981, helped writer Albert Goldman with his unflattering biography of Lennon. In 1991 he published his own book which portrayed Yoko Ono as an adulterous heroin addict.

Her lawsuit claims that after Lennon was shot dead outside his apartment in Manhattan in 1980, Seaman took shopping bags full of documents and personal items.

They included unreleased recordings, paintings, love letters, a novella he had written called Skywriting By Word Of Mouth, and diaries the singer had kept since 1975.

He pleaded guilty in 1983 to stealing four journals and was sentenced to five years' probation. He promised to return all items he wrongfully took, the lawsuit said.

Although Seaman returned several boxes of personal possessions, Ono contends Seaman is showing off hundreds of other Lennon family photographs, in books and a recent TV special.

She alleges he hatched an elaborate plan to steal Lennon's belongings, and that he called it Project Walrus after the Beatles song I Am The Walrus.

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