Is Steven Seagal a magnet for mobsters? Last summer, during a federal probe of the Gambino crime family, Seagal accused his former producer, Julius Nasso, of helping the Mob extort money from him. Now, in a lawsuit he filed last month, Seagal says he was also shaken down by the ''German Mafia.'' Guess this sort of thing comes with the territory when you're an action hero.
The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles on Dec. 19 and available for perusal at The Smoking Gun, names as defendants Berlin villa owner Edeltrud Vorderwuhlbecke and 100 unnamed associates. In 2001, the suit says, Seagal rented Vorderwuhlbecke's villa for the filming of ''Half Past Dead,'' the thriller he released in November 2002. After Seagal and his crew left, the suit says, the Germans claimed he'd damaged the property and demanded money, threatening both ''to assault him physically and to destroy his reputation'' if he didn't pay up. As a result, Seagal has suffered ''severe anxiety, emotional distress, humiliation, and mortification'' and seeks unspecified damages on the grounds of fraud and breach of lease.
How does Seagal know the defendants ''were part of and deeply involved in the German Mafia''? Through information provided by ''German law-enforcement agencies,'' Seagal's attorney, Robert Young, tells the New York Daily News.
Meanwhile, Nasso, who faces federal extortion charges for allegedly trying to squeeze $150,000 per movie out of Seagal on behalf of the Gambino crime family, has denied any wrongdoing and has said that Seagal's accusations against him stem from his own pending lawsuit against the actor, alleging breach of contract for Seagal's backing out of four movie projects.