Asia Argento's new attorney says she was "attacked by Bennett and might even be suffering the fallback of a smear campaign."
On Tuesday afternoon, Argento's new attorney, Mark Jay Heller, released a lengthy statement in which he denied actor Jimmy Bennett's accusations that Argento sexually assaulted him when he was underage.
"Her relationship with Bennett was never sexual, but rather the relationship was a long distance friendship over many years," Heller said.
While Heller acknowledges in the statement that his client entered a Bourdain-funded agreement with Bennett, he claims it was only done to protect Argento from "potential scandal."
"Now that Mr. Bourdain has passed away and is not able to comment on his desire to avoid potential scandal ... Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000 from Anthony Bourdain," Heller wrote.
He also asserted that Argento's mission to eradicate sexual misconduct in the workplace -- as propelled by her very public accusations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein -- is still in place.
According to the statement, "Asia's courage to originally make the accusations against Harvey Weinstein has not waned ... Phase Two of the #MeToo movement dictates that the voice of a victim, even one with a history that may be in question, should be heard and she is hopeful that in the Court of Public Opinion it will ultimately be determined that Asia never initiated an inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, but rather she was attacked by Bennett and might even be suffering the fallback of a smear campaign by those already accused who may have a vested interest in their accusers being denied credibility."
Bennett first came forward with the accusations against Argento earlier this month in an exposé published by The New York Times. Bennett co-starred, when he was 7, with Argento in 2004's "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" -- a film she acted in, co-wrote, and directed. They played a mother and son in the movie. Bennet claims Argento violated him when he was 17.
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