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Tabloidy Dispute Goes to Superior Court

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The ex-husband of a "Real Housewives of Beverly Hill" star has taken a nasty dispute to court, claiming his former chef defamed and tried to extort him.

Paul Nassif sued Bernie Guzman in Superior Court.

Nassif says in the complaint that he is the former husband of "Real Housewives" star Adrienne Maloof.

He claims that Guzman worked for him and his ex at their home until September 2012, when Nassif moved out of the home. "Thereafter, defendant continued to work as a chef for Adrienne only," according to the complaint.

Nassif claims that Guzman signed a "social media policy" when he was hired in February 2012, agreeing to "keep confidential all sensitive information, confidential information and trade secrets concerning the members of the Maloof/Nassif household."

But in October, after Nassif had moved out, "defendant attempted to sell a false story to the National Enquirer that plaintiff had physically assaulted Maloof," the complaint states.

Nassif says his attorney sent Guzman a cease-and-desist letter, telling him he had violated his employment agreement and that the story he tried to "peddle" to the Enquirer was defamatory.

Nassif claims the Enquirer wouldn't print it.

However, "After the National Enquirer declined to publish defendant's false story, defendant proceeded to publish on his Facebook page several photographs of Maloof which purportedly depicted bruising on her back," the complaint states. "The photographs were accompanied by defendant's statement: 'Now you know who and what he [plaintiff] really is. Adrienne Maloof was pushed to the ground. Punched and beaten. He [plaintiff] is a beast.' These statements by defendant were outrageous and vicious lies." (Brackets in complaint.)

Nassif claims that Guzman removed the pictures and statements from his Facebook page, but they were republished online, damaging Nassif's reputation.

Nassif says he repeatedly asked for a public retraction.

"In response, defendant threatened to further damage plaintiff's reputation with further falsehoods about plaintiff if plaintiff persisted with his requests that compensation be paid and a retraction issued," the complaint states. "In particular, on January 31, 2013, defendant sent plaintiff a text message in which he threatened to further damage plaintiff's reputation by stating as follows: 'Stop harassing me. ... Have you forgotten I witnessed you beat your wife ... Kids & animals. I have plenty of pretty family photos ... Some not so pretty. ... Stay away ...'" (Ellipses in complaint.)

Nassif seeks an injunction and punitive damages for defamation, breach of contract, extortion, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

He is represented by Keith Sipprelle, with Van Etten Suzumoto & Sepprelle, in Westlake Village.

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