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Hilton Drama Escalates

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Nov 17, 2003 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Nearly two weeks into the national scandal involving hotel heiress Paris Hilton and the unauthorized release of a 27-minute sex video, the lawsuit filings are beginning to resemble a ticker tape parade.

Among the numerous legal barbs being launched back and forth, Hilton's videotape sex partner and ex-boyfriend Richard Salomon filed a defamation lawsuit on Nov. 13 in Los Angeles Superior Court against the Hilton family.

Salomon alleges that the Hilton clan unjustly accused him of improper conduct in connection with the filming and alleged sale of the video, which was taped in May 2001 and did not surface publicly until November 2003.

Solomon is seeking $10 million in damages from the well-endowed Hilton family and is claiming that the Hiltons publicly maligned him and used him as a scapegoat for their daughter's promiscuity and drug use.

In legal papers obtained by XBiz, Solomon contends that the Hiltons desperately tried to protect the "phony veneer" of their daughter's integrity by "orchestrating a malicious and outrageous publicity campaign aimed at portraying Solomon as a criminal."

Solomon also lashed out at the Hiltons for accusing him of drugging Hilton prior to the taping of the video, which he claims was consensual and was done in the prime of their yearlong romantic tryst.

Solomon then turned around and filed another $10 million lawsuit in federal court against Marvad Corp., the Seattle-based Internet porn company that first obtained the video of Solomon and Hilton from a man named Donald Thrasher, a former roommate of Rick Solomon.

According to legal papers filed, Solomon accused Marvad, the parent company of Sexbrat.com, and one of its principal owners Roger Vadocz of obtaining the tape by illegal and unauthorized means and then flaunting samples of the tape to major media outlets in an effort to start a bidding war. Solomon is also accusing Marvad of invasion of privacy and copyright infringement.

"Which is of course ludicrous," Kevin Blatt, a public relations specialist retained by Marvad, told XBiz. "It was never a valid copyright to begin with." Although the owners of Sexbrat.com were told by Thrasher at the time they purchased the tape that it had been legally obtained.

According to Blatt, Sexbrat.com bought the tape from Thrasher for an upfront advance of $50,000 against 30 percent back-end profits. When they were contacted by the Hilton legal team under the auspice that Hilton had been underage at the time of the filming, they were asked to pull the video from circulation and destroy all copies.

According to Blatt, at the time Sexbrat.com only had one copy in its possession, which it promptly destroyed. However two copies remained, which had been sent to media outlets Entertainment Tonight and US Weekly and could no longer be accounted for.

In keeping with the paper flurry, Marvad has also filed a $10 million breach of contract suit against Thrasher claiming that he misrepresented the tape by telling Sexbrat.com that he owned the rights to it.

As a result, Marvad claims it has "suffered substantial damages arising out of the misrepresentations by Thrasher" and various third party individuals.

Although according to Blatt, the suit against Thrasher could be amended by the end of the week.

"Someone let the tape leak," Blatt told XBiz. "We're just not sure who it is yet."

Blatt added that the owners of Sexbrat.com are currently tracking the IP trail of the videotape and that they might be close to finding the person who disseminated the tape across the Internet.

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