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George Michael faces suit

Los Angeles, Dec. 4 (Reuters): The Beverly Hills police officer who arrested British pop star George Michael for lewd conduct in a park toilet in 1998 has got the go-ahead to proceed with a $10 million slander suit.

Marcelo Rodriguez’s first attempt to sue Michael, claiming the singer mocked him in a video for his hit “Outside”, was thrown out by Los Angeles courts two years on the grounds that public figures such as police officers are not entitled to sue.

But an appeals panel ruled yesterday that the suit could go ahead because Michael had made statements after his arrest accusing Rodriguez of “specific and objectively verifiable acts”.

Michael, who publicly revealed his homosexuality after the April 1998 incident, accused the undercover policeman of entrapment in subsequent interviews and poked fun at the arrest in his “Outside” video. He pleaded no contest to a charge of committing a lewd act and was fined $810 and ordered to perform community service.

Rodriguez is seeking $10 million for humiliation, emotional and physical distress and medical treatment.

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