Judge dismisses Beckham's libel suit against magazine

Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:10pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge on Monday dismissed David Beckham's $25 million libel lawsuit against a celebrity magazine that ran an article saying the married, British soccer star slept with a call girl.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real said Beckham, whose wife Victoria was a member of the Spice Girls singing group, is a public figure and claims of adultery against him are of interest to the public.

Real also said there was no evidence In Touch Weekly magazine exhibited malice when it published the story about the L.A. Galaxy player, which is key because under U.S. law, evidence of malice is an important benchmark for winning a libel lawsuit.

Beckham has declared in court papers that he never met Irma Nici, the $10,000 per-night New York call girl originally from Europe, who was quoted in the story saying she slept with him in New York and London.

Attorneys for Beckham said they will appeal Real's decision and continue their fight against U.S.-based In Touch and its owner, Bauer Publishing Company.

"They have not provided one shred of evidence to support the claim this story is true," a spokesman for Beckham's attorneys said in a statement. "David Beckham's clear evidence proved that this is without foundation."

"Unfortunately, the U.S. legal system requires us to show that the magazine acted maliciously," the statement said.

Beckham said in court papers that in September 2007 when, according to the In Touch article he met Nici for sex in London, he was never with her but was attending to his sick father who had suffered a heart attack.   Continued...