He 'Did Wrong' by Ono Before. Suit Says He's Doing It Again

She sues John Lennon's former assistant in copyright battle going back decades
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2020 9:15 AM CDT
Yoko Ono Files New Suit Against Longtime Foe
In a June 12, 2015, file photo, artist Yoko Ono is seen in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

For decades, Yoko One has been involved in a legal skirmish with a former assistant to late husband John Lennon, and the battle has just ramped up again. TMZ reports the 87-year-old artist and activist has filed a lawsuit against Frederic Seaman, whom she accuses of copyright infringement and breach of contract. Seaman first pleaded guilty in 1983 to swiping private notes, photos, and journals from Lennon's New York City residence, and Ono thought then that the issue had been resolved. But Seaman's representations "turned out to be lies and the start of yet another scheme," Ono's lawyer writes in the new complaint, per Fox Business. Ono sued Seaman in the late '90s after it became known that Seaman was selling Lennon memorabilia he'd apparently stolen. In 2002 the two settled that complaint, with Seaman agreeing to adhere to a confidentiality agreement.

"I did wrong by you and indeed am guilty of violating your trust," Seaman apologized to Ono in 2002. That's according to the current suit, which claims he also vowed to stop dishing about his time with Ono and Lennon. However, Ono's latest legal action was prompted after Seaman conducted a 23-minute interview last month in which he chatted about Ono and Lennon, Lennon's murder, and a book he'd put out in 1991, noting he might revise it and put out an expanded reissue. "Unless otherwise ordered by this Court again and held in contempt and punished for his contumacious behavior, it is clear that Seaman's abuses will continue," Ono's lawyer says in the suit. What Ono hopes to see come out of her new complaint: Seaman finally zipping his lips about her family for good, and at least $150,000 in damages. (More Yoko Ono stories.)

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