Trump may have trouble collecting on $5 million orangutan bet

Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:06pm EST
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By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A comedian, a millionaire and an orangutan. It may sound like the beginning of a screwball joke, but Donald Trump isn't laughing.

The famously outspoken real estate magnate has sued famously outspoken television host Bill Maher, demanding the $5 million Maher offered to give to charity if Trump could prove his father is not an orangutan.

But legal experts say Trump is unlikely to get a dime from Maher, the host of the HBO series Real Time With Bill Maher, because his offer was clearly made in jest.

"It's parody," said Bryan Sullivan, a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer. "You know Bill Maher is a comedian and a satirist. The offer is so ridiculous."

Trump, however, has taken the comic at his word.

"Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump's birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan," Trump's lawyer, Scott Balber, wrote to Maher last month.

When Maher did not respond, Trump filed a breach of contract lawsuit last week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

A Maher spokeswoman referred to his show Friday, in which he ridiculed Trump's lawsuit.   Continued...

Donald Trump speaks to a dinner hosted by the Sarasota County Republican Party honoring him as Statesman of the Year in Sarasota, Florida August 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Carlson