Michael Flatley false rape claim stripper faces jail
Published 24/12/2008 | 09:09
A former exotic dancer, who falsely accused Michael Flatley of rape, has been told by an American judge that she faces jail unless she cooperates with his lawyers as they seek to recover $11m in damages.
Tyna Marie Robertson tried to extort $30m (€21m) from the Riverdance star after saying she would go public with false allegations that he had sexually assaulted her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2002.
She was arrested at her home in an affluent suburb of Chicago on Monday, after failing to appear for a court date.
Robertson was later brought before Cook County judge Alexander White who told her she must cooperate with Mr Flatley's lawyers who are seeking documentation of her assets.
"This is your get-out-of-jail pass. If there is no cooperation . . . We are talking about civil contempt. I will put you in county jail for six months. No questions asked," he added.
Mr Flatley, who is out of the country at the moment, has said he fought Robertson's claims in order to help protect other celebrities from malicious, money-orientated claims. He has vowed to donate any money recovered from the former stripper to charity.
His lawyers had asked the court that she be held in contempt after failing to attend a court date on December 10.
Robertson claimed that she had not received notice of the hearing.
However Mr Flatley's attorney, Ariel Weissberg, said he would ask that she be kept in jail if she continued pressing the issue.
"She should stop while she's ahead," he added.
Mr Flatley was in Las Vegas in 2002 to celebrate the Venetian Casino's acquisition of his 'Lord of the Dance' show when he met Robertson.
He said their relationship on the night of October 19 was "entirely voluntary and consensual".
About a month later she went to the Las Vegas police and accused Mr Flatley of rape. However when officers began investigating her claims, Robertson refused to make a formal statement.
It later emerged that her lawyer, Dean Mauro, had offered to settle the matter and avoid publicity if Mr Flatley paid his accuser $30m.
The dancer immediately contacted the FBI when the demand for money was made.
He later lodged a $100m counter suit against Robertson and Mauro in response to the multi-million dollar civil rape lawsuit.
Mauro has since been disbarred from practising law for a year for his role in the episode.
Robertson, who attempted to take a similar case against a Chicago doctor, is currently suing American football star Brian Urlacher in a high-profile paternity case.