Rape lawsuit against David Copperfield dropped

April 20, 2010 4:12:36 PM PDT
A woman who accused David Copperfield of luring her to his private island in the Bahamas and raping her - and who was later charged with fabricating sexual assault claims against another man - dropped her federal lawsuit against the magician Tuesday.

Attorneys for model and waitress Lacey Carroll announced her decision in a news release - just days after a federal judge ruled that Copperfield's attorneys would be allowed to question her under oath this week.

"It has never been about money," Carroll said in the statement. "I just wanted him held accountable for what he did."

The Associated Press does not typically name people who may be victims of sexual assault, but in this case, Carroll's lawyers identified her in the news release with her consent.

Carroll claimed Copperfield pulled her out of the crowd during a show in Kennewick, in southeastern Washington. She was later invited to visit his island in July 2007. The trip was supposed to lead to possible modeling gigs doing promotional brochures or other materials for Copperfield, she claimed, but Copperfield forced her to perform sex acts instead.

The FBI and federal prosecutors spent more than two years investigating the allegations and even searched Copperfield's Las Vegas warehouse but closed the case early this year without filing criminal charges and without explaining the decision.

Carroll filed her civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle seeking damages from Copperfield last July.

"Carroll's lawsuit was nothing but a pathetic attempt to extort Mr. Copperfield for money with malicious and false allegations," said Copperfield's Seattle attorney, Angelo Calfo. "There was no settlement. Mr. Copperfield would not and did not pay Carroll a dime to drop her lawsuit."

Calfo said his client's view of the case was vindicated when Carroll was charged with making a false sexual assault claim against another man in Bellevue, Wash., late last year.

In that case, police said, Carroll reported she was sexually assaulted by a man who was a customer at the restaurant where she worked. She told police she may have been drugged and woke up in a hotel room to find the man on top of her.

As Carroll left the hotel room and began telling hotel staff she had been taken advantage of, the man called police and reported he was being extorted, according to Bellevue Police Department records. Carroll had left the room and made up the story after he refused to pay her $2,000 for sex, he said.

A woman who was with the pair earlier in the night said Carroll had been sexually aggressive with the man, and hotel surveillance video showed them hugging and kissing in the lobby, police said.

Carroll asked U.S. District Judge John Coughenour to delay her deposition in the civil case until the Bellevue criminal matter is resolved and until she received certain documents from the FBI. She argued that she might be forced to give statements in violation of her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, and she needed the documents to refresh her memory.

Last week the judge declined, and said the deposition would take place as scheduled on Thursday.

Carroll has pleaded not guilty to charges of prostitution and filing a false police report in the Bellevue case.