Magician Copperfield denies he sexually assaulted Seattle woman
Famed magician David Copperfield is denying allegations that he sexually assaulted a Seattle woman while in the Bahamas. Through his Las Vegas...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Famed magician David Copperfield is denying allegations that he sexually assaulted a Seattle woman while in the Bahamas.
Through his Las Vegas attorney, Copperfield — whose spectacular illusions have made him one of the richest entertainers in the world — said the allegations are untrue.
"An allegation has been made about supposed sexual misconduct by David Copperfield," said lawyer David Chesnoff through Copperfield's Los Angeles publicist. "The allegation is 100 percent false, and we deny it in the strongest possible terms.
"Unfortunately, false allegations are all too often made against famous individuals," Chesnoff said.
Chesnoff said Copperfield, whose real name is David Kotkin, had been contacted by FBI agents, but would not say more.
Meantime, federal law-enforcement sources said it could be weeks, or even months, before they conclude the investigation into the 51-year-old Copperfield.
A law-enforcement source who was briefed on the investigation said it involves a Seattle woman who said she was assaulted by Copperfield while in the Bahamas. The source declined to be named or provide other details due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.
"It is a question of whether there was consent," the source said. "It could take awhile to sort out."
The law-enforcement source who confirmed the investigation said the woman made the complaint to Seattle police, who referred the case to the FBI because the alleged crime occurred outside the country.
Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said Friday the department would not release a police report made by the woman because the investigation is ongoing.
The Seattle FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office spent much of Friday trying to quell speculation and turn aside questions about the investigation, which came to light Wednesday after agents from Seattle raided the Las Vegas warehouse where Copperfield rehearses his act and stores his props. The warehouse also houses what Copperfield has dubbed the International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts, where the entertainer keeps millions of dollars worth of magic memorabilia he has collected over the years. Copperfield maintains an apartment in the warehouse, as well.
The FBI has declined to discuss what, if anything, was seized by agents. Some local media quoted unnamed sources who said agents seized a memory chip from a camera, a computer hard drive and $2 million in cash.
FBI Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said she could not confirm those reports.
Copperfield owns a $50 million, four-island resort in the southern Bahamas known as Musha Cay at Copperfield Bay. The resort — touted among the most luxurious in the world — accommodates eight guests and costs more than $24,000 a night to rent.
According to the source, the FBI got involved because the victim did not report the crime while in the Bahamas; Bahamian police lost jurisdiction when the woman left the country; and because the woman is a U.S. citizen.
Hulan Hanna, the chief superintendent of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in Nassau, said Friday he was unaware of any allegations against Copperfield or involving the Musha Cay resort.
The FBI has declined to even say officially that Copperfield is the target of the investigation, although his attorney has confirmed it.
Copperfield has been a longtime performer at the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, where he performs several six- to eight-week stints a year, said MGM Mirage spokeswoman Yvette Monet.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or email@example.com.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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