Thursday, January 05, 2006

Celebutante Paris Hilton faces slander and harassment suits

Party girl Paris Hilton may soon face the more subdued ambiance of a courtroom.

Court hearings are scheduled this month in two separate lawsuits against the 24-year-old celebutante-turned-model, though it's unclear whether she'll appear at either. The first pits the hotel heiress-actress against diamond heiress-actress Zeta Graff, who claims Hilton and others spewed "vicious lies" printed in a New York Post story about an altercation between the two at a London nightclub.

The July 2 Post story reported that Graff - who once date Hilton's then-fiancee, Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis - went "berserk," tried to strangle Hilton, attempted to steal her diamond neckless and stalked her.

In fact, Graff claims, Hilton cussed at her and said "I'm going to destroy you" after unsuccessfully trying to oust her from the nightclub.

Former Hilton publicist Rob Shuter said in a deposition in the lawsuit that she asked him to help plant the story, saying he gave the paper comments attributed to himself, Hilton and anonymous sources that were actually dictated by Hilton, court documents say.

Hilton spokesman Elliot Mintz declined to comment Wednesday on the lawsuit, saying the matter is pending.

"Nobody welcomes lawsuits and she's an obvious target for this kind of stuff," Mintz said. "She will go about dealing with the legal system the way anybody else would."

Hilton was deposed Nov. 9, but the transcripts have not been made public.

The lawsuit, filed in July, seeks at least $10 million in damages. A Jan. 17 hearing is scheduled in Santa Monica Superior Court to consider Hilton's request for more information about the damages claim.

Coincidentally, that's the same day a hearing is scheduled in Los Angeles in a second lawsuit against Hilton.

Event promoter Brian Quintana, 37, who says he had a "business-social relationship" with Hilton, alleges in a Dec. 29 filing that she repeatedly harassed and badmouthed him in the news media. He is seeking a restraining order.

"I have received numerous calls (from Hilton) threatening my life," Quintana stated.

Mintz said Hilton may seek a restraining order against Quintana.

"I can assure you that when all of the facts are revealed in this matter, they will show that the victim is in fact Paris Hilton," Mintz said.

No comments: