In light of model Lara Bingle's decision to sell her side of the nude photo scandal to Woman's Day, the swimwear model will face a "very difficult case" in successfully suing AFL player Brendan Fevola, according to leading defamation lawyer Nicholas Pullen.
Heavy doubt now surrounds her threat of legal action following news that Bingle, fiance of Australian vice captain Michael Clarke, has sold her story to the same publication responsible for first publishing the compromising image on March 1. Celebrity agent Markson this week brokered the exclusive deal for his star client, reportedly worth up to $200,000.
Earlier in the week Markson announced Bingle, 22, was planning to sue Brisbane Lions player Fevola for breach of privacy, defamation and misuse of her rights, after he allegedly forwarded on a naked image of her in the shower taken while the pair were having a secret affair in 2006.
Yet Nicholas Pullen, a partner at TressCox lawyers, said the deal would be likely to render obsolete the Speedo model's threat of legal action against Fevola. "It’s all a very curious process, because the real devil in this notorious shower scene photo is the magazine which published the image — the liability should be floated at Woman's Day, not Brendan Fevola," Pullen told WHO.
"But given they have done a deal in relation to this story, you're hardly going to see Mr Markson and Lara issuing proceedings against the paymaster. Brendan Fevola has denied even circulating the photograph, let alone supplying the image to Woman's Day. In my opinion, I can't see a feasible action here at all."
A close friend of Fevola's wife, Alex, says Bingle has been aware of the image for years. "Lara was aware of the photo years ago, so I don't know why she would take action now," the source told WHO. She has also questioned Bingle's decision to sell the story to the same magazine responsible for humiliating her by publishing the image. "It seems strange that someone who was so traumatised would sell their story to the mag who first published the picture," the source said.
For more on this story, including how Bingle is coping with the fracas, see this week's WHO Magazine, on sale Friday, March 5.
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