Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 11:03 UK

Cohen sued over new Bruno movie

Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen made headlines after a lewd stunt at the MTV awards

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen is being sued by a woman in the US, who claims an incident that occurred while filming new movie Bruno left her 'disabled'.

Richelle Olson claims she was severely injured during filming following a struggle with Baron Cohen and his film crew at a charity bingo tournament.

The legal action, filed in California, alleges that Olson, 37, now needs a wheelchair or cane to move around.

Film studio Universal Pictures has denied the claims.

Ms Olson is seeking unspecified damages of more than $25,000 (£15,275).

'Assault'

The legal action accuses Baron Cohen and NBC Universal, the studio behind the forthcoming film, of assault, battery and fraudulent misrepresentation, among other charges.

The incident took place in Palmdale, California, after Baron Cohen - in the guise of Austrian fashion pundit Bruno - was invited to take part in a bingo tournament raising money for nursing students.

According to legal documents, Ms Olson tried to remove the microphone from Baron Cohen after he began using obscene language while calling a bingo game.

She claims the actor pushed her over and she was surrounded by cameramen, who attacked her, all the while continuing to film.

Ms Olsen alleges she ran from the stage and later fainted in a side room, hitting her head and suffering bleeding in her brain.

In a statement, Universal Pictures described the claims as "baseless".

"Filmed footage of the full encounter, which took place more than two years ago, clearly shows that Ms Olson was never touched or in any way assaulted by Sacha Baron Cohen or any member of the production and suffered no injury," the statement read.

Universal said "we expect each of the defendants to be fully vindicated."

'Duress'

It is not clear whether the subsequent footage will feature in the movie, which opens on 10 July.

Baron Cohen's previous hit movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, also led to a number of legal actions against the star and studio.

Last year a New York judge threw out claims by a driving instructor and two etiquette teachers, who featured in Borat, after determining they signed agreements releasing filmmakers from liability.

According to Ms Olson contracts were signed between herself and the Bruno film-makers, but she claims they were completed under "duress".



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