Diane Neal is taking her ex J.B. Benn to court, suing the celebrity magician over an array of allegations ranging from sexual assaul to maiming one of her pets.
According to a report in the Daily Beast, the allegations were made in a lawsuit filed by the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” actress against Benn, whom she met in 2013.
Neal’s suit alleges the magician is a “manipulative and maniacal fraudster” who allegedly “defrauded her of millions” and “violently inflicted emotional distress” via “a campaign of isolation, terror and (physical and sexual) assault, and destroyed her reputation by doing so.”
In her suit, Neal also alleges that he impersonated her in email and text exchanges, threatening her and even slashing her poodle’s throat while claiming that a cat inflicted the injury, and then “bragged that he ‘bashed the cat’s brains in.’”
As the Daily Beast reports, Neal’s legal battle with Benn has been going on for two years, and includes the shocking allegation that Neil woke up in bed to find Benn sexually assaulting her.
The suit also details an incident in which she alleges Benn physically assaulted her. “He kicks the bejeezus out of me,” she said in an interview with the Daily Best. “I’m begging, ‘Why? What do I have to do to get away from you?’”
She added: “I’m so upset because it’s the first time that anyone has raised a hand to me… and it wasn’t a hand by the way. He never uses his hands. He kicks.”
Benn has denied her allegations, and responded in an affidavit filed in January by describing her claims as “completely false and outrageously interposed as a tactic to cloud the fact that, on the merits, [Neal] has no entitlement to the relief she seeks…[Neal] will say whatever she believes is necessary to gain sympathy and to support her ongoing vendetta against me.”
In addition, Benn’s affidavit stated, “I fear that as this lawsuit progresses, [Neal’s] accusations will grow increasingly outlandish… The only thing that [Neal’s] papers prove is that she is so beholden to her anger over our failed relationship that she will swear to anything, without regard to the truth, to paint me in a false light and to try get [sic] from this court what she wants…”
According to the Daily Beast, Benn was reportedly arrested in April for misdemeanour stalking; he appeared in court on Tuesday, Nov. 12, where he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation, and was ordered to pay $200 in fines and fees and honour a two-year order of protection.
In an amended complaint filed this week, Neal’s attorneys allege that Benn’s behaviour has damaged her career.
“As a result of Benn’s depraved and unconscionable conduct against Neal, and his attempts to continue the campaign of terror and intimidation against her, Neal — fearing for life and her safety, and at great personal cost — has been forced to live in hiding rather than pursue her professional career,” the complaint alleges.
“Ms. Neal has suffered a devastating ordeal — as a victim of domestic abuse that robbed her of her personal security, as a victim of a fraudulent scheme that robbed her of the financial security that she earned during an extremely successful acting career, and as a victim of lawyers and prosecutors who have served her extremely poorly,” Neal’s attorney, Sarmad Khojasteh, told the Daily Beast in a statement. “This lawsuit is a first step towards Ms. Neal reclaiming her life and obtaining justice. We will be taking all necessary steps, including working with law enforcement, to ensure Ms. Neal is protected and vindicated.”