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Shaquille O'Neal fights privacy invasion lawsuit

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
A lawyer for Shaquille O'Neal says the man accusing him is an ex-con who demanded money from the NBA star.
A lawyer for Shaquille O'Neal says the man accusing him is an ex-con who demanded money from the NBA star.
  • Former computer consultant says he has proof of Shaquille O'Neal's affairs
  • Shawn Darling says the NBA star tried to have him arrested, stole his personal data
  • Lawyer says Darling copied O'Neal's e-mails, demanded money in exchange for them
  • O'Neal's lawyer says he will file motion to dismiss lawsuit on Thursday

(CNN) -- Shaquille O'Neal is fighting allegations from a former employee who says the NBA star stole his personal information and attempted to frame him for using child porn.

Shawn Darling, who was O'Neal's personal computer consultant, said the NBA center acted in retaliation because Darling had proof that O'Neal cheated on his wife with several women.

O'Neal's Florida lawyer said he will file a motion on Thursday to dismiss Shawn Darling's lawsuit claiming privacy invasion, racketeering and intentional infliction of emotional distress on the grounds that the suit has no basis in law.

"Even if everything he was saying were true, we believe there is no basis in the law to bring the case," Miami attorney Ben Reid said. "But in this case, none of it's true."

O'Neal, who this summer signed with the Boston Celtics, employed Darling from 2008 to 2009, while O'Neal lived primarily in Miami. During that time, Darling performed various odd jobs that gave him access to O'Neal's e-mail and cell phone accounts, according to the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in August and posted Wednesday on

The 15-page complaint describes O'Neal's dealings with three alleged mistresses and his ex-wife, whom he was divorcing at the time. Among them are allegations that O'Neal used law enforcement contacts to obtain information about Alexis Miller, and that he hacked into a phone belonging to Vanessa Lopez, erasing messages and changing her password.

The lawsuit also accuses O'Neal and an associate of throwing his computer into a lake after Darling performed a "'Defense Department' type wipe" of the computer. Darling also claims that O'Neal believes he has pictures of him with Dominica Westling.

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, O'Neal has attempted to "control" Darling's actions through threats of violence and attempts to frame him for possession of child pornography and to have him arrested using O'Neal's extensive law enforcement contacts.

"O'Neal knows that Darling not only has knowledge of his bad acts that might be used against him in litigation, but O'Neal also knows that Darling has evidence that shows he cheated on his former wife [Shaunie O'Neal] with many more people than just Vanessa Lopez," the lawsuit states.

"Darling is in apprehension and fears for his safety," the lawsuit says.

O'Neal's lawyer issued a statement after the lawsuit was reported on Wednesday that described Darling as an ex-con who has served time in a federal prison in Wisconsin for misusing Social Security numbers, and said Darling failed to disclose the prison record to O'Neal.

An online inmate search of the Federal Bureau of Prisons showed that a man named Shawn Darling was released on March 22, 2002. An attorney for Darling did not return calls seeking comment.

Reid said Darling used his position to copy O'Neal's e-mails and communications. Over the past 12 months and through three separate lawyers, he has demanded $12 million for their return, Reid said.

When O'Neal refused to cooperate with Darling, he filed the lawsuit, Reid said. The complaint seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial.

"It doesn't take much to file a suit and unfortunately, this seems pretty common in our society. People target celebrities," he said.