LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva was portrayed on Wednesday as a "terrorized" woman who never attempted to extort money from the actor, with whom she has an 11-month old daughter.
In an appearance on NBC's "Today," show, Grigorieva's attorneys spoke publicly for the first time on the scandal that has engulfed Gibson over audiotapes of phone calls in which he rants at, and appears to threaten, his former lover.
Los Angeles police are investigating Gibson on suspicion of domestic abuse, and Grigorieva for possible extortion. Neither have been charged.
Gibson and the Russian-born model and singer split up earlier this year after having a baby following the end of the "Braveheart" star's 28-year marriage. Gibson has remained silent in the face of weeks of damaging publicity over the tapes.
"The media seems to focus on whether she extorted Mel Gibson", lawyer Daniel Horowitz said on Wednesday of Grigorieva. He called her a "domestic violence victim. She was beaten, she was terrorized."
Horowitz denied reports that Grigorieva asked for money in exchange for not releasing the infamous audio tapes, or photos of herself with a chipped tooth that she said resulted when the Oscar-winner allegedly punched her in the face.
But Horowitz said that "anybody who is beaten or threatened has the right to document it."
"Otherwise it is going to be Mel Gibson, one of the most popular loved superstars in the world against a lone woman," he said.
Horowitz said Grigorieva did not profit from the leaked tapes and claimed that she had tried to hold back any publicity that would hurt Gibson.
Actress Jodie Foster, who co-starred with Gibson in the 1994 film "Maverick" and worked with him on the upcoming movie "The Beaver," came to the actor's defense this week.
Foster told More magazine in an interview released on Tuesday that Gibson was the "easiest, nicest person I've ever worked with."
"When you love a friend, you don't abandon them when they are struggling," Foster told the magazine. "...he is and has been a true and loyal friend. I hope I can help him get through this dark moment."
Editing by Jill Serjeant