Judge halts release of Verne Troyer sex tape

June 27, 2008 7:05:49 PM PDT
A 25-second snippet of video showing Verne Troyer and a former girlfriend having sex that was available online over the past couple of days is all the world will see of the tape - for now. A federal judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order requested by Troyer's attorneys that prevents porn distributors from taking orders for the full-length video, and prevents TMZ from broadcasting any more clips.

The celebrity Web site posted the short segment on its site on Wednesday; Troyer sued the site and porn distributors on Thursday for $20 million in damages.

U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez wrote that Troyer's motion "demonstrated that he will suffer irreparable harm to his reputation" if the tape is distributed. It barred further broadcasting of the tape, which Troyer's attorney, Tracy Rane, interpreted as meaning that TMZ has to remove the video from its site.

TMZ removed the snippet of the tape by late Friday afternoon, instead redirecting Web viewers to its homepage. Another post describing the lawsuit remained active Friday.

Troyer, who is most famous for his role as "Mini Me" in two of the "Austin Powers" movies, claims the sex tape he made with a former girlfriend was stolen from his home some months ago.

TMZ, which did not return telephone messages left by The Associated Press on Friday, reported that the video could fetch $100,000 from a porn distributor. SugarDVD wrote in a statement on its Web site that hoped to reach a deal with Troyer to distribute the full, 50-minute version.

Gutierrez also indicated in his ruling that he may be inclined to issue a more forceful preliminary injunction in the case unless TMZ and other parties demonstrate why it should be released.

Troyer's suit claims release of an excerpt of the tape was an invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. He is also seeking the return of all copies of the video.

His suit claims he made the tape with his former girlfriend and never intended it to be shown publicly.

The lawsuit included a pair of letters e-mailed to TMZ and SugarDVD telling both entities to remove mentions of the tape from their Web sites and halt any further plans to distribute it.