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Jennifer Lopez has filed a lawsuit against her former driver Hakob Manoukian for blackmail.
The lawsuit alleges that Manoukian demanded $2.8 million from Lopez in exchange for not disclosing "sensitive and personal" information he supposedly heard while driving J. Lo around. The driver also made other "ominous threats" to report Lopez to authorities if his demands were not met, reports CNN.
Lopez is seeking $20 million in damages. So how did this dispute begin?
The battle between Lopez and Manoukian appears to have begun earlier this year when Manoukian handled Lopez's security and arranged for several people to work as Lopez's security detail. However, the night before they were supposed to report to work, Lopez reportedly told Manoukian they were not needed and that he would no longer head her security.
Manoukian reportedly lost out on a chance to profit off of the security and became enraged, reports CNN. In Jennifer Lopez's lawsuit, J. Lo claims Manoukian became very "hostile and angry." As a result, Manoukian filed a breach of employment contract lawsuit against Lopez last April. Apparently the lawsuit did not satisfy his anger, as Manoukian then allegedly tried to blackmail Lopez.
If the blackmail allegations are true, Manoukian could be on the hook for monetary damages. But unless the chauffeur was involved in some other line of business, he probably doesn't have $20 million to pay. Instead, Manoukian should be more concerned about the criminal implications of blackmail.
In most states, it is a felony to use force or threats to compel someone to give you money. For example, a person convicted of blackmail in California could go to jail for up to four years.
For Jennifer Lopez, her lawsuit for $20 million against her driver may not be so shocking when you remember that she just lost out on $17 million from leaving "American Idol."