Former Sony Legal Affairs VP Sentenced for 'Modern-Day Slavery'

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Former Sony Legal Affairs VP Sentenced for 'Modern-Day Slavery'

Wed Jan 30, 2008 @ 12:59PM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Another strange (and sad) story of shocking behavior: James Jackson, former vp legal affairs at Sony Pictures, and his wife were sentenced today for enslaving their maid. The Associated Press reports that James Jackson was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and fined $5,000 and that wife Elizabeth got three years in prison.

This federal criminal case follows a 2004 civil lawsuit in which the maid, Nena Ruiz, claimed the Jacksons forced her to work 18-hour days at their Culver City condo near the studio and that Elizabeth regularly slapped her, pulled her hair and threatened to turn her over to immigration officials if she left. Ruiz  claimed she finally fled after being hit in the mouth with a water bottle. She collected $825,000 in damages.

"It seems she treated her dog much better than she treated her victim," U.S. District Judge Dale Fisher said of Elizabeth at Monday's sentencing.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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