Former Bieber bodyguard claiming assault in lawsuit
Justin Bieber performs during the halftime show at the CFL Grey Cup game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:37PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2013 2:22PM EST
LOS ANGELES -- A former bodyguard for Justin Bieber sued the pop superstar Thursday, seeking more than $420,000 in overtime and other wages and claiming the singer repeatedly struck him during an October confrontation.
Moshe Benabou's lawsuit claims Bieber berated him and repeatedly punched him in the chest after a disagreement about how to handle a member of the Grammy-nominated singer's entourage. After he walked away, Bieber fired him, Benabou's lawsuit claims.
Benabou also says he was mistakenly told that he wasn't entitled to receive overtime despite working 14 to 18 hour days between March 2011 and October 2012.
An email message sent to Bieber's publicist was not immediately returned.
Benabou is seeking unspecified damages on the assault and battery claims and $421,261 in unpaid overtime, vacation and other wage benefits.
"For nearly two years Mr. Benabou devoted himself completely to ensuring Mr. Bieber's personal safety," Benabou's attorney, Ilan Heimanson, wrote in a statement. "Mr. Benabou deserved, as does any employee, to be treated with respect, dignity and in accordance with the law. Unfortunately, he was not. "
Bieber's album "Believe" ranked No. 6 in 2012 sales with more than 1.3 million units sold.
In October Los Angeles prosecutors declined to file charges against Bieber after finding insufficient evidence that he punched and kicked a photographer outside a movie theatre near his home in Calabasas, Calif., a month earlier.