Former real estate mogul Michael Lyon, who faces felony charges that he secretly recorded his interactions with eight women last year, is being sued by one of the women for allegedly filming her having sex with him and distributing the material on adult websites.
The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento Superior Court on behalf of a woman identified only as “Jane Doe,” is the latest legal challenge for Lyon, who paid out $2.5 million in 2012 to settle another suit filed by former nannies, baby sitters and family friends who said Lyon had secretly recorded them in bathrooms, bedrooms and showers. That settlement also required Lyon to apologize for his actions and was one of at least two lawsuits he settled over such claims.
The latest lawsuit was filed by Sacramento attorney Richard Antoine and alleges that Lyon “secretly and purposefully recorded (the woman) while she was engaged in private sexual behavior with Mr. Lyon in his residence.”
Antoine declined to comment on the suit, which claims that Lyon “published and/or sold” the recordings to adult websites and that his actions were “an egregious breach” of social norms and the woman’s privacy, as well as “despicable conduct.”
“Mr. Lyon’s intrusions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person,” the suit states.
The suit offers the first glimpse at the conduct expected to be alleged by prosecutors in Lyon’s current criminal case, which charges him with “electronic eavesdropping” but does not spell out details of the accusations.
According to the lawsuit, the woman discovered she had been recorded when law enforcement officials showed her recordings on Dec. 30 that had been confiscated from Lyon’s Arden-area home.
Lyon, 59, was arrested last fall after he failed to appear for an appointment with his probation officers. A raid on his home turned up evidence of drugs and, eventually, led investigators to seize computers and electronic items during which they discovered videos of Lyon and eight women.
Lyon, once the CEO of Lyon Real Estate and a former Carmichael Boy Scout leader, previously served jail time for secretly recording his private interactions with four escorts and now faces 16 felony counts charging him with recording eight different women from January through September of last year. He has been out on bail since April 1 and appeared in court on those charges Monday. Lyon, who is under court order to have no contact with cameras of any type, is scheduled to return for further proceedings in July.
Court records do not indicate whether Lyon has hired an attorney to handle the latest lawsuit. In past lawsuits, he was represented by Sacramento attorney Rudy Nolen, who could not be reached Wednesday.
Lyon’s criminal defense attorney, William Portanova, said he was aware of the lawsuit and that it could factor into a trial, if Lyon faces one.
“As a trial attorney, you recognize that people who have a lot of money riding on the outcome of their testimony can be perceived by jurors as having a strong motivation to make their testimony fit their most profitable plan,” Portanova said. “So, that’s definitely a subject for cross examination.”
He added that he did not expect a quick resolution to the criminal case.
“We are still awaiting discovery,” he said. “A massive amount of computer and storage devices were taken which contain business and personal data completely irrelevant to any charges. But before the government can get it all back to us, they have to review it.”