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December 22, 2014

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David Copperfield sued over alleged sex assault

David Copperfield

Magician David Copperfield. Launch slideshow »

Magician David Copperfield faces a lawsuit over allegations he sexually assaulted a Seattle woman two years ago, and federal prosecutors continue to weigh potential criminal charges in the case.

The allegations received widespread publicity in 2007 when Copperfield's Las Vegas warehouse was raided as part of the criminal investigation. Copperfield continues to maintain the woman is lying.

The woman, now 22, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle last month against Copperfield. The Seattle Times in a story Thursday identified her as a fashion model and former Miss Washington USA contestant.

The woman is seeking unspecified damages and alleges infliction of emotional distress, false misrepresentation and false imprisonment, the Times reported.

The woman alleges she met Copperfield during a January 2007 performance in Kennewick, Wash., when he called her on stage to perform in his act, the Times reported.

The suit says she was later invited to his private island in the Bahamas, where she claims she was assaulted multiple times and threatened. The woman claims she was led to believe others would be present on the island, but instead found herself alone with Copperfield.

Copperfield sometimes performs in Las Vegas and begins an engagement tonight running through Sept. 23 at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre. The lawsuit says he is also believed to have a residence in Las Vegas.

In a statement responding to the suit, Copperfield called the action an "extortion for money, plain and simple." The woman "has a history of lying, ... which continues in this lawsuit," the statement says.

The Times reported the woman said that after the alleged assaults she was taken to Nassau, where she called her family to report the assault. She flew to Seattle and was taken to the Harborview Medical Center's Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, where she was examined, the Times said.

A federal source has confirmed that some of her clothing was taken into evidence, the Times reported.

The newspaper said the woman reported the matter to Seattle police, who said a report was taken. Police have declined to release the report. The woman then went to the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI opened an investigation and sources have confirmed a grand jury convened to hear the case, the Times reported.

Mark Bartlett, the first assistant U.S. Attorney in Seattle and the attorney reviewing the case, declined to comment, the Times reported.

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