Police look into sexual assault claim against Copperfield

UPDATED, MON 8:45 AM: Authorities are investigating a Seattle woman's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by illusionist David Copperfield, two law enforcement sources told CNN on Friday.

An attorney for the magician "categorically denied" the accusation.

But the probe led FBI agents Wednesday to raid a warehouse Copperfield owns in Las Vegas and to search the Las Vegas hotel where he frequently performs.

Attorney David Chesnoff said Seattle police have not given him the name of the woman making the accusation, but he told CNN that the name "wouldn't matter really ... because it's categorically denied as a false accusation, an impossible kind of claim."

"Mr. Copperfield's reputation precedes him as an impeccable gentleman," Chesnoff said.

"So we're obviously disturbed that those kind of allegations are being made, but we believe that that's a common event now, unfortunately, for celebrated people to be to be falsely accused," he said.

"Certainly no one he's ever had a relationship with could ever say that about him," he said.

Earlier Friday, Seattle police said the FBI raid on the warehouse stemmed from an accusation in a police report filed by a Seattle woman over the summer concerning an incident that allegedly took place in the Bahamas.

They did not specify the type of allegation made against Copperfield.

Glenn Miller, chief superintendent in charge of the detective unit of the Royal Bahamas Police force, told CNN he had no official reports of any incident involving Copperfield.

Agents were investigating a case based in Seattle when they entered the warehouse Wednesday night, an FBI spokesman said.

No other information could be made public about the probe, FBI Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said.

A dozen FBI agents stormed the warehouse and took a computer hard drive and a memory chip from a digital camera system, as well as $2 million in cash that was inside a safe, reported CNN affiliate KLAS in Las Vegas, citing a source close to the investigation.

CNN could not immediately confirm these details.

FBI agents also searched the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, where Copperfield performs, said Yvette Monet, a spokeswoman for the hotel's parent company, MGM Mirage.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation as best we can," she said.

Copperfield earned $57 million in 2005 and the same amount the year before, according to Forbes magazine.

The 51-year-old performs in Las Vegas and around the world, has starred in TV specials, and was named a "living legend" by the Library of Congress.

He was once engaged to model Claudia Schiffer.

According to his Web site, Copperfield began performing professionally at age 12 "and became the youngest person ever to be admitted to the Society of American Magicians. By 16, he was teaching a course in magic at New York University."

PREVIOUSLY: A woman told Seattle police the magician, David Copperfield, raped her while she was in the Bahamas, sources said.

Because the alleged incident happened abroad and the woman did not report it until she returned to the United States, Seattle authorities turned over the case to the FBI.

On Thursday, FBI officials raided a Las Vegas warehouse used by Copperfield. Seattle FBI agent Robbie Burroughs said Thursday the case was related to one in Washington. "The investigation is related to a Seattle case. The Seattle case is pending and that means we can't say anything about it," Burroughs said.

Copperfield has been contacted by law enforcement authorities and the FBI has conducted an investigation in Las Vegas, where the magician regularly performs, his lawyer and the FBI confirmed.

Copperfield's Las Vegas attorney, David Chesnoff, refused to give specifics about the charge. "If in fact those are the allegations, unfortunately false allegations are all too often made against famous individuals," Chesnoff said. "But we are confident the investigation will conclude favorably."

He continued, "We are in touch with the investigators and are respecting the confidentiality of the investigation."

Copperfield has a warehouse in Las Vegas that he has dubbed the International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts. He apparently stores tricks and memorabilia from around the world at the warehouse. "I can confirm that there's investigative activity at the warehouse," FBI special agent David Staretz, spokesman for the Las Vegas office, said.

Staretz would not elaborate. KLAS-TV reported that an FBI raid with 12 agents took place Wednesday at Copperfield's warehouse. Copperfield, 51, has been a longtime performer at the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, where he has performed in six- to eight-week stints several times a year, said MGM Mirage Inc. spokeswoman Yvette Monet.

Monet said Copperfield performed two shows Wednesday night, which were at the end of his most recent run. Monet said Copperfield next was scheduled to perform in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,303546,00.html