An attorney for [artist id=”3061469″]Lady Gaga[/artist] has responded to the $30.5 million lawsuit filed against the singer by former collaborator Rob Fusari. The lawsuit alleges that Fusari discovered and nurtured Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotta) only to have her abandon him and cut him out of her lucrative recording career once she became successful.
In a court filing made public Friday, Charles Ortner, an attorney for Gaga, said the agreement at the center of the suit was “unlawful,” according to The Associated Press.
In the suit, filed in New York Wednesday, Fusari claims he came up with Gaga’s stage name (which she has credited him with) and helped her get a label deal; Fusari co-wrote and produced several songs from her 2008 debut LP, The Fame, including “Paparazzi.” The suit also claims that Gaga and Fusari’s relationship became a romantic one as well as a business partnership: a joint venture called Team Love Child LLC for which Fusari’s share was 20 percent.
Ortner wrote in his response that the arrangement was “structured in such a way as to mask its true purpose — to provide to the defendants unlawful compensation for their services as unlicensed employment agents,” according to the AP, adding that Fusari and his company violated statutes that prohibited them from “acting as employment agents without a license and charging Lady Gaga an unlawful fee for their purported services.”
Contacted by MTV News Friday evening, Fusari’s attorney, Robert Meloni, commented: “The claim filed by Lady Gaga does not pass the laugh test. I assume their strategy here in response to Fusari’s complaint is ’the best defense is a good offense,’ with their claim being the ’offense’ but it really gives ’falling on your sword’ an entirely new meaning. Ms. Germanotta really should not be playing with sharp objects.”
At press time, Ortner had not responded to MTV News’ request for comment, although a rep for the singer said via e-mail: “We intend to let this play out in the courtroom, not the media.”