A man formerly working as LeAnn Rimes ’ bodyguard and personal trainer has been indicted for alleged extortion by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press. Robert Lavetta Iadevaia Jr., better known as Robert Lavetta, was accused in a court affidavit of attempting to extort $2 million from Rimes.
Lavetta, who was reportedly fired by Rimes in June after she noticed personal pictures and videotapes missing, was named in an earlier lawsuit filed by Rimes’ father Wilbur (in a suit against LeAnn Rimes’ company) as a bad influence on his daughter. Lavetta, Wilbur Rimes claimed, was attempting to charge him –- when the elder Rimes still managed his daughter — $1,000 a day for his services.
In his lawsuit, Rimes expressed “concern about a 40-year-old man in constant companionship” with his daughter, who was then 15. Wilbur Rimes referred to Lavetta as a “personal trainer cum script writer.” Wilbur Rimes later discovered, his suit says, that “LeAnn was secretly paying Lavetta thousands of dollars to act as her ‘bodyguard.’” Lavetta, Wilbur Rimes claimed, hired security guards at concerts to keep Wilbur away from his daughter.
LeAnn Rimes’ affidavit against Lavetta claims that Lavetta told one of her co-managers that he had taken photographs and tapes and threatened to sell them to tabloid publications if he were not paid. Lavetta’s attorney allegedly sought to get “severance” pay for his client of $2 million.
Lavetta was released on $1,000 bond after entering a plea of innocence. His trial date is Sept. 11. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Rimes and her father are involved in a suit and countersuit over money. She claims he and a former co-manager owe her at least $14 million. He seeks an unspecified amount of money owed him as producer of her records.
In March of this year, LeAnn Rimes’ lawsuit seeking dissolution of her recording contract with Curb Records was denied by a Nashville court. She had filed suit when she turned 18, claiming that the contract her parents allowed her to sign with Curb when she was 12 should not be binding.