And, as always, the ageless diva has survived unscathed. A jury in Los Angeles has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a man who accused Cher of breaking labor laws and exploiting workers during a remodeling project at her Malibu mansion.
Salvatore Sampino claimed he was fired by the 55-year-old entertainer because he refused to take part in the questionable construction practices, which included stiffing workers for overtime and hiring undocumented workers. Sampino was asking for $100,000 in lost wages and $150,000 for emotional distress.
But Cher's lawyers called the lawsuit "absolute nonsense," saying Sampino was fired simply because "he was screwing up." After deliberating for a day, the jury on Friday sided with Cher and gave Sampino zilch.
"I'm really happy with the verdict," Cher said, before signing autographs for jurors after the trial, according to the Associated Press.
The actress-singer had testified in court that she was "flabbergasted" by the lawsuit, especially considering it came from Sampino, whom she called "flamboyant and amusing."
"I was astonished by the things that it said, and how virulent the attack on me personally was," she said.
Sampino filed suit against Cher in July 2000, claiming she knowingly skirted labor laws and exploited workers during the remodeling of her Malibu home. Among the claims: that Sampino was instructed not to pay overtime to any employees; that employees would not receive worker's compensation or disability insurance; and that undocumented workers were hired to work on what Sampino described as Cher's "coastal fortress."
Sampino also got personal, calling Cher "a temperamental celebrity...whose great wealth and ego convinced her that she and the companies that she controls are above the law." The suit sought damages for wrongful termination, retaliation in violation of public policy, defamation, unfair competition and negligence.
And, in addition to his claims against Cher, Sampino also accused a former project manager of harassment for allegedly making "offensive and outrageous" comments about his sexual orientation.
From the beginning, Cher claimed Sampino never even worked directly for her. "I had no idea there was any alleged dispute between him and my contractor except the knowledge that he brought a complaint to [worker's] compensation and was denied."