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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Lawyer leaves Gest divorce case
David Gest and Liza Minnelli
The pair were married in March 2002 in a lavish ceremony
The high-profile lawyer representing producer David Gest in his divorce from singer Liza Minnelli has quit the case.

Raoul Felder said he was quitting because he was finding it difficult getting his client on the telephone, and because Gest was often ill.

"There was no bad feelings. He wants to go in a different direction," Mr Felder said on Monday.

Gest is filing for divorce from Minnelli after alleging she beat him last October.

The pair married in a lavish wedding in March 2002, attended by stars including Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.

"I told him I had a great deal of respect and admiration for him in the face of adversity," Mr Felder said after announcing his resignation.

New lawyer

He said the time difference between Gest's Hawaii home and Mr Felder's New York office had made it difficult for him to talk to his client.

Gest, 51, has already appointed a new lawyer, James Doherty.

On Monday, Mr Doherty and Minnelli's counsel, Dorothy Weber, told a New York judge that depositions from the two sides would be heard in June.

State Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon asked the legal teams how "aggressive" their cases were going to be, with Ms Weber saying she and Gest's new lawyer had had "good dealings".

Gest sued Minnelli last year for $10m (5.88m), alleging that she had beat him in drunken rages. He said the beatings had left him with permanent injuries to his face and constant pain.

He also sued for money he claimed he was owed for one of Minnelli's performances. The singer denied beating Gest, and counter-sued, saying she had been denied $2m (1.17m) by her estranged husband.

The pair previously said they would adhere to a pre-nuptial agreement signed before their wedding.

Minnelli rejects pre-trial taping
23 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Minnelli 'counter-suing' husband
18 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Minnelli says husband is 'hiding'
08 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Liza and David's tantrums and tiaras
22 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Gest sues Minnelli over 'abuse'
22 Oct 03  |  Entertainment


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