Universal Claims Taped Footage Shows No Assault By Sacha Baron Cohen

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Universal Claims Taped Footage Shows No Assault By Sacha Baron Cohen

Fri Jun 05, 2009 @ 02:34PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Bruno Universal Pictures has responded to allegations made by a Los Angeles woman who claims she was severely injured by Sacha Baron Cohen during the making of "Bruno."

The studio says the lawsuit filed by Richelle Olson and her husband is "baseless" and that they have evidence that will prove to be fully vindicating. 

"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 reads.

Richelle and Lance Olson filed the lawsuit on May 31 at Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that that during the filming of "Bruno," the star "offensively touched, pushed and battered" her down to the ground. The episode happened during a melee at a bingo hall, as Cohen and plaintiff Richelle Olson wrestled over control over the microphone.

Earlier in the day, Olson attorney Kyle Madison went public for the first time, issuing his own statement that said "the actions of Mr. Cohen and those acting in concert with him have resulted in life-altering injuries to my client."

In the complaint, Olson says she was rushed to the hospital by paramedics and later diagnosed with two brain bleeds. She says she has been confined to a wheelchair and a walker since the incident.

Sacha Baron Cohen has been the subject of much litigation since his hit 2006 film, "Borat." After that film was released, a number of lawsuits were filed that claimed that producers had fraudulently duped people into appearing in the film. Those cases, resting on claims that the signed waiver didn't cover the fraud, were all unsuccessful. 

The latest "Bruno" case is grounded upon legal claims of assault and battery, and will likely focus on what cameras did and did not capture. 

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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 [email protected]

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