Drug Agents Feelings Hurt

"American Gangster - The Complete First Season" (Paramount Home Video)

(actual DVD of the film not yet available at Amazon, though Netflix has it listed)

Sometimes the truth stings. Wouldn't be an issue if there wasn't some guilty consciousnesses involved.

Three former Drug Enforcement Administration agents filed a $55 million defamation lawsuit against the movie studio that made "American Gangster" on Wednesday, claiming it tarnished hundreds of reputations.

The film follows the rise and fall of former Harlem heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, portrayed by Denzel Washington. His empire undercut the price and quality of heroin sold by the Mafia and when he was caught, Lucas turned informant.

Former DEA agents Louis Diaz, Gregory Korniloff and Jack Toal said NBC Universal, the owner of Universal Studios, falsely claimed the movie was based on a true story and misrepresented the events surrounding Lucas and New Jersey Detective Richard Roberts, depicted by Russell Crowe.

The movie hurt the agents' reputations by falsely claiming in text at the end that a collaboration between Lucas and Roberts "led to the convictions of three-quarters of New York City's Drug Enforcement Agency" agents between 1973 and 1985, according to the suit, which seeks class action status.

[From Drug agents sue NBC over American Gangster]

The Return of Superfly, indeed. (Working title of the film, per IMDb)

NBC Universal, owned by General Electric, denied the allegations, saying: "American Gangster does not defame these, or any, federal agents."

"The end legend specifically refers to members of 'New York City's Drug Enforcement Agency' -- not the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, where the plaintiffs formerly worked. We believe the lawsuit is entirely without merit," NBC Universal said.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on January 18, 2008 4:57 PM.

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