Suit against rap artist Dr. Dre revived

Rap artist and producer Dr. Dre may appear in Detroit soon, but it could be in a courtroom rather than on a concert stage.
The state Court of Appeals last week revived a lawsuit against the artist -- whose real name is Andre Young -- that accuses him of violating state eavesdropping laws by improperly videotaping a backstage conversation by former city employees at a concert in July 2000. The original lawsuit sought $3 billion.
The former employees -- mayoral spokesman Greg Bowens, police spokeswoman Paula Bridges and then-police commander Gary Brown --went to Joe Louis Arena to demand Dr. Dre not show an eight-minute video at his "Up in Smoke" tour concert because it contained nudity. The video wasn't shown, but tour promoters included footage of the meeting on a widely sold tour DVD. Other artists on the national tour included Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eminem and Xzibit.
The employees allege they never gave permission to record the meeting and it shouldn't have been on the DVD.
The case was dismissed twice by local courts, but the Appeals Court panel ruled that a jury should decide.
"Dr. Dre and his cohorts have been doing nothing but blowing smoke over the last few years, and the Court of Appeals clearly saw through it," said Glenn Oliver, who represents the former employees. "We believe at trial the jury is going to see through it as well. We expect to see Dr. Dre and the rest of the defendants in Detroit for a trial."
Defense attorney Herschel Fink said police violated the performers' First Amendment rights and didn't have a reasonable expectation the conversations should remain private. 


"There was never a concealed camera. It was open and obvious," Fink said. "The majority decision should be worrisome for all news organizations and would set a dangerous precedent if allowed to stand. Under this ruling, even the police officers taped while beating Rodney King would have a right to sue the person who caught it all on tape."

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