Copperfield averts extortion attempt

A disgruntled employee has attempted to extort David Copperfield by releasing documents that allegedly detail Copperfield’s backstage system for meeting women, his attorney said Tuesday.

Las Vegas defense attorney David Chesnoff, in a statement, said the MGM Grand headliner was “the victim of an unsuccessful extortion attempt by a disgruntled former employee. We believe these documents are a smear campaign which is a product of that unsuccessful shake down effort.”

Chesnoff added, “The distorted and twisted claim that these meet and greets were designed as a dating service for Mr. Copperfield is ridiculous. In fact, thousands of audience participants were greeted in this fashion.”

He added, “The innuendo that voluntary meetings with audience members has anything to do with forced, non-consensual activity is both untrue and unfair.”

TMZ.com posted the documents at http://www.tmz .com/2007/11/05/copperfield-secret-document-how-to-pick-up-chicks/ on the Internet.

The FBI has been investigating a 21-year-old Seattle woman’s reports that Copperfield pulled her out of the audience and invited her to the Bahamas, where she reported he raped her.

SCIENTOLOGY RALLY

That benefit event featuring Usher at the Four Seasons Hotel on Saturday had overtones of a recruiting rally for the Church of Scientology.

The event was billed as a $1,500-a-plate fundraiser for the New York City Rescue Workers Detox Program and Usher’s New Look Program. Usher and actors Leah Remini and Danny Masterson co-chaired the evening.

Attendees included music legend Quincy Jones, a longtime Scientologist, and Venetian headliner Wayne Brady.

Tom Cruise, Scientology’s highest-profile member, co-sponsored the 9/11 detox project to assist firefighters, police officers and emergency responders who were exposed to hazardous materials in the air after the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Usher has helped Cruise with previous fundraisers for the detox project, which flushes poisons from victims through an intense regimen of jogging, sauna and ingesting oils and high doses of niacin.

MEDIA UPDATE

Mitch Moss has replaced John Hanson as program director at ESPN radio 920 and Fox Sports Radio 1460. Hanson, who teamed up with Dave Cokin, left last month for a TV job in Minneapolis. Cokin is doing the 1-3 p.m. show solo, as is Moss, in the 3-5 time slot. … O’Shea’s comedian Vinnie Favorito is the solo host of the noon to 2 p.m. show on Fox Sports 1460 AM, after two weeks of co-hosting with Marc Savard. They recently replaced Ron Garrett and “The Sin City Sports Dude,” co-hosts of “The Wise Guys.” … Sports talk veteran Papa Joe Chevalier has returned to the airwaves. He’s on KLAV-AM 1230 Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. His show can also be heard on the Internet at www.papajoetalk.com.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Terry Fator, winner of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” has signed a 15-show deal for 2008 with the Las Vegas Hilton, it was announced Tuesday. He will perform at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve as well. … Restaurateurs Michael Cetrulo and brother Joe of New York City’s highly regarded Scalini Fedeli are in town, reportedly on a scouting mission. They dined at Guy Savoy Restaurant (Caesars Palace) on Sunday and Mario Batali‘s B and B Ristorante (Palazzo) on Monday night. …

Los Tigres Del Norte will be honored at 4 p.m. today at a Las Vegas Walk of Stars ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel. The band is in town for the Latin Grammys on Thursday at Mandalay Bay. The event is for media and invited guests. The star installation will take place later this week outside the MGM Grand.

SIGHTINGS

President Clinton, dining at Stack (Mirage) with a group that included former Gov. Bob Miller and Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid on Monday. … Mel Gibson, drinking Red Bull and water at Jet nightclub (Mirage) on Monday. … Criss Angel, shooting a “cremation” scene for “Mindfreak” Monday in a Luxor parking lot. … Former Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker, at ESPN Zone (New York-New York) on Sunday with family watching the Patriots-Colts NFL showdown.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Some runners are sponsored by Adidas. You’re sponsored by Chips Ahoy.” — From David Letterman‘s Top Ten Signs You Won’t Win The New York Marathon.

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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