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Director Accused of Making Threats

A woman's suit says he told her she could end up missing if his wife learned of their affair.

March 07, 2003|Chuck Philips | Times Staff Writer

Film director Antoine Fuqua has been accused in a lawsuit of threatening the life of a former girlfriend and making false charges to authorities in a failed attempt to hide their affair.

The action came as Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures and its allied Revolution Studios prepared for today's release of Fuqua's "Tears of the Sun," starring Bruce Willis.

The suit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Tanya Evans, a 30-year-old personal trainer. In the complaint, Evans states that Fuqua said she would "wind up missing like Chandra Levy" if his wife, actress Lela Rochon, found out about their relationship.

In May, Fuqua had Evans arrested for stalking. But the city attorney's office said Thursday that it lacked evidence to support most of the charges against her and dropped them. In November, Evans stood trial on one count of making harassing phone calls, but was acquitted.

Attempts to reach Fuqua through his office and agent were unsuccessful. His lawyer, Barry Hirsch, said he hadn't seen the complaint so he could not comment on its details.

"We have received communications from her counsel in the past ... threatening to go public unless we paid a substantial amount of money," Hirsch said. "The allegations are untrue, and we refused to buy into such behavior."

Fuqua, 37, is best known as the director of "Training Day."

The suit, filed by Beverly Hills attorney Carl Douglas, seeks damages for malicious prosecution and infliction of emotional distress. It does not specify a dollar amount.

According to the suit, Evans first met Fuqua in May 2001 at a San Fernando Valley mall, where they exchanged cell phone numbers. The encounter led to trysts at several hotels, the suit states.

Several months later, however, Evans said she began to receive hang-ups and other disturbing calls. Responding to a page, she eventually traced them to another woman who claimed to be having an affair with Fuqua, the suit states. The two women concluded that Rochon, who also is named as a defendant in the complaint, had used Fuqua's cell phone records to cross-connect them, according to the suit.

Attempts to reach Rochon through her manager were unsuccessful.

According to the suit, Evans ended the affair in March 2002 as Fuqua began shooting "Tears of the Sun" in Hawaii. Late that month, Evans went to the couple's Tarzana home and spoke with Rochon from a security gate phone, according to the suit.

Two months later, she was arrested by Los Angeles police, and charged with making harassing phone calls, loitering, trespassing and two other counts. The city attorney dropped four of five counts; she was acquitted on the phone charge.

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