Ousted "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez claims that one-time employer threatened to dish dirt on her unless she coughed up $2.8 million
What's Jennifer Lopez's reputation worth? About $20 million, according to a lawsuit filed Friday by the singer/actress and former "American Idol" judge.
Lopez filed suit against her former driver and head of security, Hakob Manoukian, in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, saying that he tried to blackmail her by threatening to reveal damaging information he'd obtained about her during his time of employment with Lopez.
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According to the suit, Manoukian worked for Lopez for about a month before quitting due to a dispute with her management team. Shortly thereafter, in Oct. 2011, he engaged in "blackmail, extortion, and related acts."
The suit is actually a counterclaim made against a complaint filed by Manoukian. In that suit he says that he was forced to resign from his position after he was denied "production pay" that he says he was due. He was then demoted to Lopez's Los Angeles driver when he complained about the lost pay and subjected to humiliating treatment by Lopez's manager, Benny Medina.
Lopez's suit claims that, on Oct. 3, 2011, Manoukian's then-attorney "made written and oral demands that unless Manoukian was paid $2.8M, he would disclose sensitive and personal information that he had allegedly heard while driving Ms. Lopez."
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The suit goes on to note that the demands were "in total disregard of Manoukian's signed confidentiality agreement" barring Manoukian from making negative disclosures about his boss.
Alleging extortion, attempted extortion, breach of oral contract and breach of written contract among other infractions, the suit is asking for damages "in no event less than $20,000,000."
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.