NEW YORK – Liza Minnelli (search) can't stop her former bodyguard from talking about their relationship, an appeals court has ruled.
In a unanimous decision, a five-judge panel of the state Appellate Division denied the Oscar winner's bid to gag M'Hammed Soumayah (search) from talking about any of his claims in his explosive $100 million lawsuit against her.
The "Cabaret" star had argued that Soumayah's suit — which charges Minnelli beat and sexually assaulted her longtime right-hand man — violated the terms of a confidentiality agreement he'd signed. She sought a court order to force him to keep his mouth shut.
The judges found Soumayah's rights were more important than the agreement — and pointed out Minnelli hadn't even disputed his claims in her legal filings.
"Statements made in the course of and about judicial proceedings, such as those defendants seek to enjoin, are privileged, notwithstanding the existence of a confidentiality agreement," the ruling said.
"We note defendants do not contend that complaint's allegations are false."
Soumayah's lawyer, Harvey Mars, said he was "pleased" with the decision, calling it a "victory not only for my client but others who may be dissuaded from pursuing claims because of confidentiality agreements."