Hollywood star Steven Seagal is a “pathological liar” who falsely accused suspected New York mobsters of intimidation to escape a €450,000 debt, a court has heard.
Every time the hard man actor has owed money he has “cried intimidation“, defence lawyer George Santangelo told the Brooklyn Federal Court.
“It doesn’t happen only here. It happens in other countries.
“He has a reputation all over Hollywood as a liar.”
Seagal is said to have been targeted in an extortion racket by members of the Gambino crime family, once headed by the late Godfather John Gotti.
Police allege Anthony Ciccone and Primo Cassarino were involved in a plot to take more than €150,000 from the Exit Wounds star for each film he made.
Prosecutor Rick Whelan said the men tracked Seagal from New York to Toronto threatening to kill him if he failed to pay up.
He said in a recording by investigators the suspects can be heard “laughing at how scared Seagal was at one of the meetings“.
The actor had been so reluctant to give evidence that he had to be “compelled to appear by a court order“, Mr Whelan added.
But Mr Santangelo told jurors: “if Steven Seagal comes here and testifies there was a threat ... I’m going to suggest to you that he’s a pathological liar.”
Peter Gotti, 63, and four other men are also on trial accused of racketeering.