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Ex-‘American Idol’ contestant insists he had fling with Paula Abdul, sues BigLaw firms for libel

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Ex-‘American Idol’ contestant insists he had fling with Paula Abdul, sues BigLaw firms for libel

Jan 30, 2013, 08:15 am CDT

A lawsuit filed by former American Idol contestant Corey Clark accuses two BigLaw firms of libel for a report apparently discounting his claim that he had an affair with judge Paula Abdul during the competition.

The $120 million suit claims the Fox network hired Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Morrison & Foerster in a “sham investigation” of his affair claim. The Am Law Daily and Hollywood Reporter have stories.

Clark was tossed off the show in its second season based on allegations that he had failed to reveal a prior misdemeanor arrest. He claimed in 2005 that he had an affair with Abdul, leading to the investigation and report that same year. Clark alleges the law firms had done previous work for Fox and the producer of American Idol, and it is misleading to suggest they acted as “independent counsel.” Though the firm's work product was not disclosed, Fox asserted that the probe had cleared Abdul of any wrongdoing, the suit says. Abdul also denied the affair.

Also named as a defendant is E! Entertainment Television, which ran an E! True Hollywood Story on Paula Abdul in January 2012 that also denies the affair.

Clark says the affair denials damaged his reputation and spurred his record company to stop promoting his debut album. Clark “started receiving death threats from complete strangers in the streets,” the complaint (PDF) says. “Random people spit on him and damned him to hell." Clark made an unsuccessful suicide attempt in 2006, according to the suit.

The law firms did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Am Law Daily.

Clark is also one of nine former Idol contestants who filed a petition with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week that seeks a right to sue the show for racial bias, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The petition claims the show’s questions about arrest history amount to discrimination against blacks.

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