The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Judge allows accuser of 'X-Men' director to drop sex abuse lawsuit in Hawaii

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HONOLULU, Hawaii - A former child model can drop his lawsuit accusing "X-Men" director Bryan Singer of sex abuse in Hawaii and has the option of refiling it later, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Michael Egan III said in a previous court filing that he wanted to dismiss the lawsuit, not because it lacks merit but because he can't find a new lawyer to represent him.

Singer has sought to have the case dismissed with prejudice, meaning it couldn't be re-filed. He also wanted Egan to pay his attorney costs and fees.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway denied the request by Singer.

"Any alleged damage to defendant's reputation may well be ameliorated by plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of the action," her order said.

Egan, 31, accused Singer of sexually abusing him during trips to Hawaii in 1999, when Egan was 17. Singer has denied the allegations.

Egan was pleased with the ruling, said Vince Finaldi, an attorney in Irvine, California, who said he's advising Egan but isn't representing him legally. "He got everything he wanted."

Finaldi said he can't say what Egan will do next. "I've got to leave a little bit of cliff-hanger here," he said.

Singer also was pleased, said one of his Los Angeles attorneys, Marty Singer, who is not related to the director.

"Although we would have liked the case dismissed on merits, the fact that now it's dropped ... is satisfactory," Marty Singer said. "We're pleased that it's over."

Egan's former attorneys asked to be removed from the case after their relationship with him deteriorated. An Aug. 19 court filing by Egan that the judge ordered unsealed on Wednesday said Egan claimed his previous attorneys withheld information from him.

Finaldi said Egan declined to accept a $100,000 settlement. "No. 1, the money wasn't enough and No. 2, they were trying to shut him up," Finaldi said.

Marty Singer said that settlement offer was proposed by Egan's previous attorneys. Egan's previous Hawaii attorney referred questions to an attorney in Florida, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Egan previously dropped three similar Hawaii lawsuits against other entertainment figures.

The lawsuits were filed under an unusual state law that created a window for civil cases in sex-abuse cases when the statute of limitations has passed.

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Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa .

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