Travolta sexual battery lawsuit withdrawn, but case may go on
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The remaining plaintiff in the sexual battery lawsuit against John Travolta fired his lawyer, but the case could continue with another lawyer and another court, two lawyers told CNN on Thursday.
Gloria Allred confirmed Thursday that the plaintiff known as John Doe #2 has hired her to represent him and possibly file a new legal action against the actor.
“We believe that the lawsuit should be filed in another court and, therefore, the lawsuit that was on file was dismissed without prejudice,” she told CNN. “We will be conferring with our client regarding what will happen next in this case.”
Okorie Okorocha, the lawyer who initially filed the lawsuit in federal court last week, said his second client called him Thursday morning and said he was fired. He later learned Allred had been hired.
The suit, which accused the actor of groping two male massage therapists at hotels in Los Angeles and Atlanta in January, is being dismissed Thursday by Okorocha.
Travolta’s lawyer, Martin Singer, has called the allegations by both men “ridiculous.”
John Doe #1, who said that Travolta sexually harassed him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hired Allred on Tuesday, just hours after he withdrew from Okorocha’s lawsuit.
Allred said Tuesday that she and John Doe #1 would discuss if a new lawsuit would be filed against Travolta.
“We are in the process of conferring with him regarding the next steps, which he may wish to take,” Allred said.
That dismissal was “without prejudice, which means that he is still legally entitled to file a lawsuit against John Travolta if he chooses,” Allred said.
There was no immediate reaction from Travolta’s lawyer to the latest developments.
John Doe #1 withdrew from the lawsuit after it was learned Travolta was in New York, not Los Angeles, on January 16, the day he had alleged the massage incident took place.
Okorocha told CNN the date should have been January 15, but the mistake would have hampered the chances of John Doe #2 in court. He also said “personality conflicts” with John Doe #1 contributed to the decision.
The lawyer insisted in a CNN interview Tuesday that he would “mop up” in the courtroom with the allegations made by John Doe #2.
Despite losing both clients, Okorocha told CNN Thursday that he still believes they “absolutely have cases” against the actor.
He accused Allred of stealing his clients, which she told CNN was “completely false.”
“Mr. Okorocha’s representations are false, outrageous and defamatory,” Allred said Wednesday. “John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 contacted my offices and neither I nor anyone in my law firm solicited either of these two clients. Both clients first called me and asked me to represent them.”
Allred said after practicing law for 37 years, she does not solicit clients.
“Clients come to me,” Allred said. “John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 called me without my having any contact with them whatsoever prior to their phone calls.”
She demanded that Okorocha retract “his false statements.”
“I value my reputation and will defend it vigorously both publicly and in court,” she said.
Okorocha, reached by Wednesday afternoon, said he had a text message exchange on Tuesday with his client saying he was called by Allred.
“I get the case to national prominence and then someone who only does press conferences and sideshows, and doesn’t actually go to court or do trials, just steps in and says, ‘I’ll take the clients,'” Okorocha said.
Okarocha predicted that Allred would quickly reach a settlement with Travolta that would include an agreement not to disclose its existence.
“I will find out what’s in that settlement and I will get my equitable share of that settlement, because I did the majority of the work to get to where we are,” he said.
Okarocha said there are two more people he represents who may become plaintiffs.
“If Travolta doesn’t take responsibility, I’m going to file those cases,” he said.