Mel Gibson sued by 'The Passion of the Christ' screenwriter

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Washington, February 12 : Actor-director Mel Gibson has fallen into legal trouble with the co-screenwriter of 'The Passion of the Christ', who alleges that the former conspired against him to deprive him of fair compensation and keep more money for himself.

Benedict Fitzgerald has accused Gibson of fraud, breach of contract and unfair business practices while filing the five-million-dollar lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court.

"Gibson preyed monetarily on Ben, taking advantage of his unbridled enthusiasm for the project and with full cognizance of Ben's fundamental personal and spiritual beliefs," People magazine quoted the 21-page legal document as stating.

The document states that Fitzgerald was told by Gibson that he would be working on a small, four to seven-million-dollar project that would yield little money for the former, and none for the latter.

However, some accounts reveal that the film grossed over 600 million dollars worldwide.

Fitzgerald's complaint is that he was paid 75,000 dollars, and that he had to borrow 200,000 dollars from Gibson for expenses.

An attorney for Gibson's production company Icon, George R. Hedges, has termed Fitzgerald's charges "utterly baseless".

Though he did not say anything about Fitzgerald's total compensation on the film, he said that Fitzgerald "was handsomely compensated - a very significant amount of money for any writer on any project."

ANI

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