Gibson Asks Judge To Throw Out Passion Writer's Lawsuit
MEL GIBSON has filed legal papers asking a judge to dismiss a fraud allegation filed in a recent lawsuit by the co-screenwriter of his religious epic THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. In his lawsuit, Benedict Fitzgerald claimed Gibson, who directed the controversial 2004 film, engaged in a "chronic and conspiratorial pattern of deceit" by telling him he was working on a project with a budget of between $4 million and $7 million (GBP2 million and GBP3.5 million). Fitzgerald claims he was only paid $75,000 (GBP37,500) and that he had to borrow $200,000 (GBP100,000) from Gibson to cover expenses. The Passion Of The Christ went on to gross an estimated $600 million (GBP300 million) worldwide. However, in legal documents filed on Tuesday (18Mar08), Gibson claims Fitzgerald had to know The Passion Of The Christ's budget due to the extensive publicity the film attracted. The actor/director, who is named as a defendant alongside his Icon Productions company, also claims Fitzgerald waited too long to file his suit and hasn't offered an adequate explanation for the delay. A hearing is set for 20 June (08).