If you go to a Marilyn Manson concert, and the singer rubs his crotch against your head, it's all in good fun. So a St. Paul, Minn., jury ruled in a U.S. District Court verdict on Monday, in a head-rubbed security guard's suit against the shock rocker, clearing Manson of civil charges of assault and battery.
Guard David Diaz had sued over a 2000 Manson performance in front of an audience of 3,000 at Minneapolis' Orpheum Theater, claiming that the singer rubbed him the wrong way, causing him humiliation and mental anguish. His lawyer had argued for punitive damages of up to $3 million, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Manson admitted pulling Diaz's head to his pelvis and gyrating his hips, but after two days of deliberations, the jury found him liable for no damages.
After the verdict, Diaz's lawyer told the Pioneer Press his client had sued not for money but to keep Manson from pulling similar stunts in the future. ''David brought this case with the hope that he wouldn't do this again,'' attorney James Kaster said. (In fact, Manson pleaded no contest in 2002 in a similar guard-rubbing incident in Clarkston, Mich., and was ordered to pay $4,000 in fines and court costs, the Associated Press reports.) Manson, however, issued a statement saying: ''The path to truth is obscured by frivolous lawsuits, but it's lit by the objectivity of a jury that sees the difference between entertainment and assault. I feel completely vindicated and I'd like to thank the jury and judge for their thoughtful verdict.'' He also plugged an upcoming area concert, saying, ''I'm excited to be returning to St. Paul on October 16, 2003, and I'd like to thank my fans for their support.''