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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK


George Michael faces $10m lawsuit

George Michael: Being sued for $10m for his song's video

Pop superstar George Michael is being sued for slander by one of the undercover policemen involved in his arrest for lewd behaviour last year.

Beverly Hills police officer Marcelo Rodriguez has filed a $10m (£6.25m) private lawsuit against Michael, complaining that the singer's single Outside and its video "mocked" him.

Rodriguez also alleges that Michael subsequently described him as "waving his genitals" in front of him (Michael), as well as being "guilty of entrapment".

[ image: The Will Rogers Memorial Park restroom where Michael was arrested]
The Will Rogers Memorial Park restroom where Michael was arrested
The policeman's attorney said of his client: "He's a very well-respected police officer who has had some very vicious things said about him."

He continued: "(Michael) has said (those things) in numerous interviews in magazines, on television, on the Internet and all over. George Michael has profited greatly out of what has happened at my client's expense."

The former Wham! star released Outside and its video as a send-up of his run-in with plain-clothed Rodriguez in a men's restroom at Will Rogers Memorial Park on 7 April 1998.

Following his arrest, Michael, 35, was fined $810 and ordered to perform 80 hours community service, after pleading no contest to a charge of committing a "lewd act".

He was banned from the Beverly Hills city park with a warning that a repetition of his behaviour would mean a jail sentence.

In addition, Michael was placed on 24 months' informal probation, ordered to pay $100 to a victim's restitution fund and to undergo five psychological-sexual counselling sessions by 31 July 1998.

The Outside track mixed in radio reports of the arrest. While its video featured Michael dressed as a policeman, plus gay and straight couples engaged in outdoor sexual activity.

Later in the year, in a BBC interview with Michael Parkinson, the singer admitted he took the chance to "have a go" at the officers who arrested him by naming one of the fictional policemen in the video after the real arresting officer.

Rodriguez's civil action was filed on his behalf at Los Angeles County Superior Court.

On top of the $10m for humiliation, mental anguish, emotional and physical distress, the officer is said to be seeking punitive damages and legal costs.

Beverley Hills police spokesman Lieutenant Ed Kreins said that his department could not comment on civil litigation filed by one of its members as a private citizen.

Messages left for Michael's publicity agent and managers in London were reportedly not returned on Monday night.

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