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Suit against De La Hoya is dismissed

Boxer's attorney says expert has determined that photos of him in women's clothing are not real.

June 12, 2008|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

The New York woman who sued Oscar De La Hoya -- seeking $25 million for slander and claiming she was pressured to recant the legitimacy of photos she allegedly took of the boxer in fishnet stockings, high heels and other women's garb -- has dismissed her claim.

Facing a possible countersuit by De La Hoya, model and former stripper Milana Dravnel dismissed her case Friday after an expert assessed the photos as "doctored," De La Hoya's attorney said.

"She was facing destruction on a major scale," said Judd Burstein, De La Hoya's attorney. "She wisely chose to dismiss."

Dravnel's attorney, Salvatore Strazzullo, did not return messages left Wednesday.

Burstein said an expert established the photos that Dravnel originally claimed she took of De La Hoya in Philadelphia in May 2007 were fake.

Dravnel signed a letter admitting that last year, but then contended she was coerced by De La Hoya and advisors and sued the former six-time world champion for slander.

"De La Hoya has consistently maintained that the photos in question were doctored," Burstein said in a statement. "His claim was confirmed by a highly esteemed expert. . . . We had little doubt that the case would have been dismissed. Mr. De La Hoya would have successfully sued her for fraud and extortion. The jig was up, and she wisely decided to walk away."

Burstein insisted no "hush money" was paid to Dravnel, a former stripper at the Manhattan club, Scores. "Oscar is not paying her a penny," Burstein said.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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