Liza Minnelli’s bodyguard claims the Oscar-winning actress made him have sex with her in order to keep his job, according to recently unsealed court documents.
The allegations are detailed in M’Hammed Soumayah’s $100 million lawsuit against the entertainer. Minnelli’s lawyers did not return calls for comment Wednesday. But in a court document, one of her lawyers said Soumayah had “commenced this action in a quick sand of untruths and misstatements” and accused him of a “shakedown” of her client.
In the lawsuit, Soumayah, 56, accused Minnelli of assault and battery, breach of contract, withholding payment for services rendered and sexual harassment.
Although the suit was filed Sept. 30 in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court and sealed by Justice Barbara Kapnick, she unsealed it late Tuesday over the objections of Minnelli’s lawyers.
Also Tuesday, Minnelli, 58, sued Soumayah for $250,000, alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The two-page filing contained no details.
In the newly unsealed court papers, Soumayah, married and the father of two, says he began working for Minnelli in 1994 and was paid $238,000 a year.
While working for her, Soumayah was coerced by Minnelli to have sex, his court papers say. “After many repeated attempts by Minnelli to compel (Soumayah) to have sex with her, (he) eventually succumbed,” the papers say.
He also alleges she beat him “repeatedly.”
“Fearing loss of his lucrative job, plaintiff tolerated Minnelli’s violent outbursts and did not complain about them to her or anyone else,” the suit says.
Soumayah’s court papers say he signed a confidentiality agreement in 2003 because he was threatened with firing if he refused. He said it was to be in effect only while he worked for the star.
In an affidavit explaining that agreement, Minnelli says: “I am not ungrateful for my celebrity status. But I think I deserve, as does everyone, some right to privacy.”
The affidavit, filed in an effort to persuade the judge to keep the bodyguard’s suit sealed, asks the judge to enforce the agreement and “protect me from scandal, which is clearly being used to completely embarrass me.”
Minnelli’s estranged husband, David Gest, has also accused Minnelli of assault in a $10 million lawsuit against her. Minnelli is suing Gest for allegedly stealing $2 million from her, and both are suing each other for divorce.