Kirkland woman drops rape lawsuit against Copperfield

Lacey Carroll, 23, claimed she was raped in 2007.

Lacey Carroll right

A 23-year-old Kirkland woman who accused David Copperfield of raping her on his private Caribbean Island has dismissed her lawsuit against the celebrity magician, claiming she had “had enough” of the resulting backlash.

In a statement released Tuesday, attorneys for Lacey Carroll said Copperfield had used his “money and power to relentlessly attack” her and to scrutinize her family, friends and co-workers since she filed the lawsuit.

“She’s been completely worn down and overwhelmed,” said one of her attorneys, Becky Roe. The dismissal comes two days before Carroll was scheduled to be deposed by Copperfield’s attorneys.  Last week, a U.S. District Court judge refused to grant her request to postpone the deposition until after the resolution of a pending criminal case in Bellevue in which Carroll has been charged with prostitution and lying to police.

In that case, Carroll is alleged to have falsely accused a 31-year-old businessman of taking advantage of her in a Bellevue hotel room while she was intoxicated. But the Bellevue city prosecutor alleges Carroll tried to extort the man after he refused to pay her $2,000 for sex, according to charging documents.

Angelo Calfo, one of Copperfield’s attorneys, said Carroll’s decision to drop the civil lawsuit is a vindication for his client. “It speaks volumes that she chose to dismiss the suit rather than face questioning,” he said, referring to the deposition.

Calfo emphasized that Carroll’s decision to dismiss the suit was not the result of a settlement.  “We have not paid her one dime,” he said. Carroll, who was a onetime runner-up in a Miss Washington pageant, claimed Copperfield picked her out of an audience at a show in Kennewick and invited her to his private island in the Bahamas in July 2007.  She claimed she thought the invitation would lead to modeling gigs, but that instead Copperfield forced her to perform sex acts.

Federal law enforcement launched a criminal investigation into Carroll’s claims against Copperfield.   She filed the civil lawsuit on July 29, 2009, in U.S. District Court in Seattle against David Seth Kotkin, Copperfield’s given name. That date was the deadline for a two-year statute of limitations in the case.

In January, federal prosecutors dropped their rape investigation of Copperfield after learning that Carroll was being investigated by Bellevue police in the alleged prostitution case. Federal prosecutors, who would not say there was a link between their decision not to charge Copperfield and the Bellevue investigation, said their decision should not be “perceived as a comment on guilt or innocence.”

On Jan. 26, the Bellevue city prosecutor charged Carroll with misdemeanor counts of prostitution and filing a false report in connection with the Bellevue case. Carroll told police she had been taken advantage of in a Bellevue hotel room on Dec. 2 while she was intoxicated. But police said surveillance tapes and witness statements did not support her claims.

She later refused to cooperate with the investigation, telling detectives she was worried that the Bellevue incident might affect her lawsuit against Copperfield. Roe has said the allegations against Carroll in the Bellevue case have been exaggerated.

In March, Carroll’s civil case was dealt a blow when U.S. District Judge John Coughenour refused to stop federal authorities from returning to Copperfield possibly “incriminating” evidence gathered during the criminal investigation. Her attorneys argued that the evidence was relevant to her lawsuit and that Copperfield might destroy it.

The judge told Carroll’s attorneys there was no evidence that that would happen, and pointed out that Carroll’s attorneys could still obtain the material through the normal discovery process.

Calfo said on Tuesday that Copperfield is working with the FBI to have Carroll “prosecuted for having wasted taxpayer dollars and law-enforcement resources” during the 2 ½-year investigation.

Roe, Carroll’s attorney, said, she’d welcome that.

“Bring it on. We’d love to see David Copperfield — and all his documents — go to the FBI,” she said.

FBI spokesman Fred Gutt said the bureau could not confirm, deny or even acknowledge if there was such an investigation.

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