Illusionist David Copperfield is being sued by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted and threatened to kill her.
The alleged victim, from Seattle, in the United States, is seeking undisclosed damages for emotional distress, false misrepresentation and false imprisonment in relation to an incident she claims occured on the magician’s private island in the Bahamas.
In a statement, Copperfield accused the woman of lying, adding: “This is extortion for money, plain and simple.”
The allegations date to July 2007 when the woman, described by the Seattle Times as a former beauty queen, was invited to Copperfield’s $50m (€35.1m) private island.
The woman was led to believe that other guests would be present and that she would have her own room, she claims.
On the first night of the visit, the 52-year-old magician drove her to a beach and returned to the mansion to remove her passport, it is alleged.
According to the lawsuit, the first sexual assault took place while the pair were watching a film in Copperfield’s room.
The woman alleges that the magician threatened to kill her if she did not perform sexual acts.
The following day, Copperfield located the alleged victim at the beach and demanded that she stripped for him. When she refused, he held her head under water, the lawsuit claims.
A third incident allegedly took place later that day. On leaving the island, the woman reported the alleged attack and was taken to a centre in Seattle for victims of sexual assault.
The lawsuit was filed on July 29, the Seattle Times reported. The date marked the deadline for a two-year period in which legal documents could be filed.
Copperfield, who was once married to supermodel Claudia Schiffer, is currently under federal investigation over the claims, the newspaper reported.
The magician has always denied the accusations.
In a strongly worded statement, Copperfield said that the accuser had a “history of lying”.
He claims that other guests were present on the island and that the notion she was trapped is “absurd.”
The statement added: “The lawsuit is extortion for money, plain and simple. Unfortunately, false claims like this only hurt the women who really have been abused, women who really need our help.”