Crime & Justice

Playboy playmate attempting to get defamation allegations thrown out

Dueling litigation between Joe Francis and a Playboy model could be pared if the woman's lawyers are successful in persuading a judge to throw out the "Girls Gone Wild" founder's defamation allegations against her on Thursday.

Jayde Nicole, the 2008 Playmate of the Year, sued Francis on Sept. 24 for assault and battery in connection with a scuffle that she, her boyfriend Brody Jenner and Francis got into Aug. 28 at Los Angeles nightclub Guys and Dolls.

The 23-year-old centerfold alleges that Francis caused her multiple injuries, including a "black eye, swollen face, bruised ribs, sore and bruised abdomen region, bruised arms and legs, ripped-out hair and utter emotional distress and humiliation."

Francis filed a countersuit against Nicole and Jenner on Oct. 23, alleging battery, assault, negligence, slander, libel and invasion of privacy.

The countersuit maintains Nicole slandered Francis when she spoke on video after the incident to a member of a celebrity Web site and said the videomaker "... grabbed my hair and he punched me in the face ... he pushed me to the ground ... he kicked me in my stomach and my chest ... and [her neck]."

The countersuit acknowledges Francis pulled Nicole's hair, but states he did so in self-defense to keep her from hitting him with a bottle.

Nicole's lawyer, Ronald Richards, said he is confident that the defamation and invasion-of-privacy portions of Francis' suit will be dismissed during Thursday's hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court. The attorney maintains the allegations are an infringement on Nicole's right to free speech.

On Jan. 28, Nicole submitted a second sworn declaration in support of her lawyers' motion to have the defamation allegations dismissed.

"At the time I made the statements, I did not have any reason to believe that they were not true," Nicole stated. "I was shaken up by the attack, was in a lot of pain and was being badgered by the interviewer. I simply told him what I thought had happened."

But Francis maintains a club video backs up his story regarding Nicole. He also alleges Jenner punched him in the face, ripped off his shirt, and he stated on his Twitter page that Francis "beat up my lady ... for no good reason," according to the countersuit.