Art Dealer Sues Claire Forlani on Slander Claim

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - A private art dealer has filed a libel and slander suit against actress Claire Forlani for allegedly falsely claiming that he sold her a fake photographic print and had sold other fakes to other customers.
     Paul Rusconi, in a complaint filed in Superior Court, also said Forlani falsely asserted that he charged three or four times the true price for art pieces.
     According to the suit, Forlani bought a silver gelatin photographic print by William Claxton of the actor Steve McQueen eating a doughnut in Sept., 2006 as a present for actor Dougray Scott (now Forlani's husband). The print is one of only 15 made by Claxton and is not a forgery, the complaint said.
     On July 27 of this year, Forlani allegedly -- "for some malicious reason" -- sent out a mass email claiming Rusconi was selling art work that he knew had been forged "and that he routinely defrauded his clients by vastly overcharging for the works he sold to them."
     The suit, filed by Larry Feldman and Robert Barnes of Kaye Scholer, claims at leat $25 million in damages.