Published May 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES – This one just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
John Doe #2, who last week filed a sexual assault lawsuit against John Travolta, has followed in the footsteps of the first accuser, John Doe #1, and parted ways with attorney Okorie Okorocha in favor of well-known Los Angeles litigator Gloria Allred.
In a statement released to Fox411’s Pop Tarts column, the high-profile attorney confirmed her new client.
“We believe that the lawsuit should be filed in another court and, therefore, the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice,” Allred said. “We will be conferring with our client regarding what will happen next in this case.”
But that’s just the tip of iceberg when it comes to this escalating legal drama.
On Thursday, Okorocha accused Allred of soliciting his clients while he was still working on the case. However, Allred was quick to bite back to the lawyer’s accusations, calling his representations “false, outrageous and defamatory.”
“John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 contacted my offices and neither I nor anyone in my law firm solicited either of these two clients. Both clients first called me and asked me to represent them,” she stated. “I have been practicing law for the past 37 years and I have not and do not solicit clients. Clients come to me. John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 called me without my having any contact with them whatsoever prior to their phone calls. I demand an immediate retraction by Mr. Okorocha of his false statements. I value my reputation and will defend it vigorously both publicly and in court.”
But Okorocha showed us text messages he says prove his case.
"There is no dispute. My client informed me on May 15 that she was soliciting," Okorocha said, adding that he intends to take action against her, and that he already warned her that such actions were “unethical and against the law."
According to Los Angeles-based civil litigator Anahita Sedaghatfar, who specializes in sexual harassment cases, it is not unusual for the accusers to change their legal representation; however the issue of credibility of both John Does is likely still the biggest cause for concern, redardless of their attorney.
“When you are filing a federal compliant and allege numerous details about an incident, but get the date wrong, it could mean big problems,” she said with regards to John Doe #1. “And for John Doe #2 to send an email addressing work issues and not mentioning the incident … it is not to say that they don’t have valid cases, but credibility is the real issue here.”
The fact that Allred, known for taking on high-profile and controversial cases, is representing both Travolta accusers could give them more bargaining power, Sedaghatfar said.
“This changes the dynamic of the case in that it is much more likely to settle out of court because of the increased publicity and media savvy-ness of Allred. It levels the playing field,” Sedaghatfar explained. “Allred doesn’t try cases in court. She wins out of court settlement through her use (and threat of use) of the media as leverage in her cases.”
But Travolta's lawyer Martin Singer isn't backing down. He told TMZ on Thursday that he is “looking forward to trying the case against Gloria Allred in a court of law, not in the media."
He also insisted that the “Grease” star has not paid either plaintiffs a single penny, continues to maintain that their accusations "ridiculous and false."
Singer did not respond to requests for further comment.