Lennon Court Case Proceeds
A jury hearing Yoko Ono's case against a former assistant over her late husband's personal property watched home videos yesterday (Sept. 24) showing John Lennon frolicking with his family in his finalA jury hearing Yoko Ono's case against a former assistant over her late husband's personal property watched home videos yesterday (Sept. 24) showing John Lennon frolicking with his family in his final days. Shot in the months before the former Beatle's 1980 murder by a deranged fan, the video was introduced at a federal trial in which Ono is accusing former studio gofer and personal assistant Frederic Seaman of pilfering Lennon's stockpile of mementos for profit.
"Oh, my God, it's beautiful," Lennon said off camera as he videotaped Yoko Ono and their son, Sean, then 5, rolling around on the waterfront lawn at their Long Island vacation home. "You're out of the shot," he said later. "You mind playing a little nearer to the camera?"
The video showed Seaman snapping pictures, which Ono's lawyers say was one of his official duties. Ono, 69, sued Seaman in 1999, alleging he violated a confidentiality agreement by publishing the family photos. She also claims he profited by stealing mementos and selling them to collectors, which Seaman denies.
Testifying for a second day, Ono accused Seaman of also raiding her late husband's wardrobe in the year following the former Beatle's death. Ono told the jury she would not have taken Seaman to court if he "didn't take so many things from me and wear my husband's clothes when he was dead."
The lawsuit demands Seaman surrender the rights to 374 photos he took of Lennon, turn over about $75,000 from the sale of the rock legend's papers, and pay unspecified damages.
Ono dismissed Seaman in 1981, unaware he looted files following Lennon's slaying outside their Central Park apartment building, her suit said. In 1983, Seaman pleaded guilty to second-degree larceny for stealing Lennon's diaries; he was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to return the property.
Seaman has argued that he took the photos on his own time and with his own camera, making him the rightful owner.
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