YOKO ONO has settled a 20-year legal dispute with a former assistant of her late husband John Lennon who had been accused of stealing memorabilia from the late star.
The two sides settled out of court this afternoon (September 27), ending the case at Manhattan federal court just hours before the jury was expected to hear closing arguments.
Ono had been suing Frederic Seaman, accusing him of stealing personal artefacts from the couple’s New York home.
Seaman has issued a public apology to Ono, John Lennon and their son Sean, the BBC reports.
“I offer no excuses for my conduct, and ask only that you can find it in your heart to forgive me,” Seaman said in a statement. “After more than 20 years, it’s time to ask for forgiveness for my actions.”
The settlement forces Seaman to surrender all rights to nearly 400 photos of the former Beatle
and his family. It marks a complete victory for Ono.
Seaman must now return any John Lennon-related items still in his possession within ten days.
He admitted in court on Wednesday (September 25) that he planned to write a book about his former employer despite signing a confidentiality pact with John Lennon and Ono 23 years ago, a year before John Lennon was shot dead outside his home by deranged fan Mark Chapman.
Yesterday (September 26), US District Judge Leonard Sand ruled that Seaman was bound by a confidentiality agreement when he was hired by the Lennons in 1979.
In 1983, Seaman was charged with having stolen John Lennon‘s diaries. He pleaded guilty to grand larceny and was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to return the diaries.
Ono said she fired him in January 1982 when she caught him wearing John Lennon‘s clothes and charging money to her accounts.