DOCUMENT: Crime

Maher: Ex Is Serial Shakedown Artist

"Confirmed bachelor" says he is woman's "latest victim"

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Maher: Ex Is Serial Shakedown Artist

NOVEMBER 29--Denying an ex-girlfriend's legal claim that he used racial slurs and assaulted her, comedian Bill Maher has fired back at the woman, describing her as a would-be extortionist who launched a campaign to embarrass and humiliate the HBO star after the demise of the pair's ten-month relationship. In the below Los Angeles Superior Court filing, Maher--described as a "confirmed bachelor, and a very public one at that"--alleges that Nancy Johnson fabricated claims that he physically and verbally abused her. In a $9 million palimony lawsuit, Johnson, a centerfold model and former flight attendant also known as Coco Johnsen, claimed that Maher also promised to marry and have children with her, support her financially, and purchase a Beverly Hills home. Portraying himself as Johnson's "latest victim," the 48-year-old Maher contends that the woman's "modus operandi" is to try and shake down former consorts. One of her prior "unscrupulous schemes," Maher alleged, involved a 1997 shakedown bid targeting a Miami socialite whom Johnson falsely accused of rape and kidnapping. (7 pages)