Filming of Steven Seagal's 'Lawman' suspended following sex lawsuit
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/15/2010
Steven Seagal has been deemed a distraction to the police department he's worked at for more than two decades, causing filming of Steven Seagal Lawman to be temporarily halted.
Filming for the A&E reality series has been suspended "for the time being" after a California woman filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Seagal accusing him of sexual assault, illegal trafficking of females for sex, failure to prevent sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and false representation about employment, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told The Associated Press.
"I did not think it would be in our best interest to continue filming at the present time," he told The AP.
Seagal lawyer Marty Singer has denied the allegations and claimed Nguyen was fired for illegal drug use.
"The claims in her lawsuit are a complete fabrication without a scintilla of truth," he said in a statement.
Normand claims he informed A&E and Steven Seagal Lawman's ITV Studios production company that it would be disruptive for the force if filming of the reality series continued.
"We are aware of Sheriff Normand's decision to halt production on Steven Seagal Lawman at this time and we have no further comment," A&E spokesman Dan Silberman told The AP.
In addition, Silberman confirmed Steven Seagal Lawman -- which follows the actor as he works as a fully-commissioned Jefferson Parish County Sheriff deputy in Louisiana -- was in production when filming was halted and there are currently no alternative plans to resume production.
Steven Seagal Lawman's December premiere set an original series premiere record for A&E, averaging 3.5 million total viewers and 2.0 million viewers in the Adults 18-49 demographic.
The woman -- 23-year-old former model Kayden Nguyen -- claims she responded to a February ad on Craigslist looking for an executive assistant for a production company and subsequently landed the position, according to the lawsuit.
However once she was flown from Los Angeles to New Orleans, Nguyen alleges the position wasn't what she had been led to believe.
"Mr. Seagal had been keeping two young female Russian 'Attendants' on staff who were available for his sexual needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," claims Nguyen in the lawsuit.
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Nguyen claims Seagal intended to fill one of the "attendant" positions with her since it had recently become vacant and added that her first night on the job included the action movie star allegedly pushing his hands under her skirt, attempting to fondle her breasts, and forcing her hands down his pants, the lawsuit states. Nguyen said she complained the next morning, however nothing was apparently done. The next day she alleges Seagal once again sexually assaulted her and forced her to consume illegal pills.
While Nguyen claims Seagal called it a "misunderstanding" when she confronted him the next morning, she added that didn't stop him from sexually assaulting her again.
Nguyen is seeking more than $1 million in damages in the lawsuit.
Normand said at a Wednesday news conference that he does not plan to investigate Nguyen's allegations unless she makes a criminal or administrative complaint against Seagal with his office.
Although she never filed a complaint, Nguyen lawyer William S. Waldo claims his client did report the alleged incident to authorities.
"She reported it to Steven Seagal," he told The AP. "In Jefferson Parish, Mr. Seagal is the police."