Friday, January 14, 2011

Federal Judge Whistles Beckham Offsides on Call Girl Depo Request

David Beckham, England, own work (by ger1axg).Image via WikipediaU.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division) Judge Manuel L. Real has shot down soccer great David Beckham's motion to depose pre-discovery ex-high-priced hooker Irma Nici, a defendant in his $25 million defamation suit against the publisher of In Touch Weekly.

As reported by Matthew Heller on, Beckham sued based on a graphic article in the October 4, 2010, issue of In Touch entitled "David's Dangerous Betrayal," that alleges Beckham had sexual liaisons with Nici--who purportedly once worked as a $10,000-a-night prostitute-- in London and New York City, including a "girl-on-girl" show involving another prostitute.  The magazine paid Nici $50,000 for her exclusive story, but Beckham, who is married to former Spice Girls chanteuse Victoria Posh Spice (Adams) Beckham, denies even having met Nici.

The lawsuit, David V. Beckham v. Bauer Publishing Co. et al. (Case No. 2:10-cv-07980-R) includes a cross-complaint by Nici against Beckham. Bauer, which is based in Germany, filed a motion under California's anti-Slapp ("Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation") statute [Cal. Civ. Proc. Code Sec. 425.16] to strike the complaint on free speech grounds, asserting that the story involves a matter of "public interest."

Beckham's attorneys argued that deposing Nici and In Touch Weekly's editor was necessary to prepare a response to the anti-SLAPP motion. Judge Real, however, disputed that call, ruling that Beckham's request was a "fishing expedition" that  failed to satisfy the legal goal, as it were, of showing the discovery was essential to opposing the anti-SLAPP motion.

The 35-year-old Beckham is a midfielder for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer and a former Manchester United star.

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