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Woman sues Schwarzenegger for defamation

She says campaign lied about her after she claimed harassment

Rhonda Miller has filed a defamation suit against California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Rhonda Miller has filed a defamation suit against California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A Hollywood stuntwoman who claims she was sexually harassed by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger filed a lawsuit Monday alleging defamation by the governor and his campaign staff.

The day before Schwarzenegger was elected California's governor, Rhonda Miller spoke at a news conference alleging "outrageous acts" of sexual harassment by the former bodybuilder and actor.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, repeats that claim and says his campaign spread lies that she was a convicted felon.

"Miss Miller has never been arrested in her life. She's never been convicted of anything," said her attorney, Paul Hoffman. "She's a nice woman. And what they did was not very nice."

Miller, who also is represented by Gloria Allred, claims in the lawsuit that while working with the superstar in January 1991 on the set of "Terminator 2," Schwarzenegger engaged in "improper and unlawful" conduct.

Miller says Schwarzenegger pulled up her T-shirt and photographed her breasts and touched them even as she fought with him and yelled at him to stop.

In the October news conference, Miller said she later found the photo on the ceiling of the set's makeup trailer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In response, Schwarzenegger issued a statement in which he said he recalled seeing photos of crew members in the makeup trailer and acknowledged making what he called crude comments about them, but he denied taking Miller's picture or even being in the trailer at the time.

In the lawsuit, Miller also claims that while filming "True Lies" in 1994, Schwarzenegger "grabbed me, put me on his lap and started feeling my breasts, so I hit him in the head again. He got mad and pushed me away."

The complaint alleges that less than one hour after her news conference October 6, Schwarzenegger's campaign staff "disseminated to dozens, if not hundreds, of media outlets, reporters and editors an e-mail ... that Rhonda Miller was a felon with a long criminal record."

Claiming defamation, the lawsuit charges the campaign staff knew she was not the same Rhonda Miller who apparently appears in a Los Angeles court database.

The goal, according to her lawsuit, was to harm her reputation "so that the public would be less likely to believe her statement regarding Schwarzenegger's sexually offensive conduct."

Marty Singer, a longtime attorney for Schwarzenegger, said the harassment claims were "totally fabricated."

"This case is absolutely without merit. ... This is more about publicity for Ms. Allred and her client," Singer said.

Also named in the suit are campaign spokesman Sean Walsh and the California for Schwarzenegger campaign.

Miller was one of at least seven women whose allegations of sexual harassment by Schwarzenegger over the years were reported by the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets in the days before the October 7 recall election. (Full story)

The alleged acts, in which the women said Schwarzenegger touched them in a sexual manner without their consent, dated from the early 1970s to as recently as 2000.

Schwarzenegger both disputed the sexual misconduct allegations and apologized for them.

"I don't remember things that I've done or said 20 years ago. I don't remember things that I've done 30 years ago. And I said that many of the things that are in there are not true because that's not my behavior," he told reporters in October.

"And then other things may be true, and in case it is, that's why I said I want to apologize if I offended anyone, because that was not my intention."


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