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IN BRIEF / ENTERTAINMENT

Judge Finds Samaha Liable for $97 Million

August 18, 2004|James Bates

Movie producer Elie Samaha is personally on the hook for nearly $97 million to a German company that successfully sued him for improperly inflating the budgets of films it bankrolled, a federal judge in Orange County ruled.

U.S. District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler said Samaha must pay Intertainment $77 million in actual damages awarded by a jury in June in a fraud trial, plus $4 million in punitive damages and $15.5 million in interest.

Intertainment alleged that Samaha secretly inflated budgets of movies such as the Sylvester Stallone film "Get Carter" and the John Travolta movie "Battlefield Earth" so Intertainment would pay more than the 47% it was obligated to fund.

Samaha lawyer Bill Price said Samaha would fight the ruling, arguing that the judge was forcing Samaha to pay damages the jury intended for his company, Franchise Pictures, to pay.

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James Bates

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