NEW YORK – Liza Minnelli (search) says her former bodyguard, who claims she forced him to have sex with her to keep his job, and her estranged husband David Gest (search) have joined forces to attack and embarrass her publicly, according to court papers.
A complaint posted on the Celebrity Justice Web site and filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court on Nov. 9 also says M'Hammed Soumayah (search), 56, breached a confidentiality agreement by giving Gest personal information about Minnelli, 58.
The posted complaint said Soumayah and Gest, both of whom also say Minnelli beat them, have been in contact since May or June, in person and speaking by telephone.
The papers note that soon after Soumayah filed his $100 million lawsuit against Minnelli, Gest issued a press release supporting the bodyguard's charges, saying he witnessed Minnelli's assaults on Soumayah and promising to testify for him if asked.
Gest, 52, has filed his own $10 million lawsuit against Minnelli, saying that during the 15 months they lived together after they were married in March 2002 she repeatedly beat him so badly that he suffered nerve damage in his head.
The papers on the Web site say, "the audacious act of issuing a press release, at a minimum, supports that Mr. Gest and Mr. Soumayah have engaged in collusion."
It is clear, the papers continue, that Soumayah and Gest "allied themselves in order to litigate these matters in the press, for the express (and obvious) purpose of bolstering each other's claims."
The complaint says neither Gest nor Soumayah had previously said in court papers that either had seen Minnelli strike the other man. In fact, the papers say, Soumayah had said he had never seen the singer-actress violent.
Minnelli papers asked for $250,000 for the breach of the confidentiality contract.
Soumayah's lawyer, Harvey Mars, could not be reached for comment but in the past he has refused to comment on Minnelli's lawsuit against his client or on his client's lawsuit against Minnelli.
Minnelli's lead lawyer, Dorothy Weber, could not be reached for comment. She has consistently refused to comment on her client's litigation.
Minnelli and Gest married March 16, 2002, at a star-studded ceremony that featured Michael Jackson as best man and Elizabeth Taylor as maid of honor. They separated in July 2003 and have sued each other for divorce.