An attorney for "Full House" star John Stamos denied claims that his client had a romantic affair with the then-17-year-old woman on trial in the U.S. District Court in Marquette, Michigan, for an alleged scheme to fleece the actor for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to The Associated Press, prosecutors claim that Allison Coss, now 24, and Scott Sippola, 31, allegedly conspired to extort $680,000 from Stamos by telling him they had photos of him with cocaine and strippers that they were going to sell to tabloid newspapers.
Prosecutors claim the photos don't exist, and two FBI agents testified that they did not find any evidence of their existence when they searched the defendants' homes after their arrest. The couple claims the photos were lost or destroyed during the FBI raid.
Defense lawyers in the trial, expected to last two or three days and possibly feature testimony from Stamos, 46, have said the couple offered Stamos the chance to buy the pictures but that the deal was not extortion.
Stamos is expected to take the stand on Tuesday (July 13), but the AP said it was unclear if he'll address the defense's claim that he had a romantic liaison with Coss when she was a 17-year-old high school student on a spring break trip in Florida in 2004. The judge ruled last week that testimony about the alleged relationship with Coss would not be allowed during the trial.
Though the alleged relationship was brought up in opening statements, that is not considered part of the trial record, and Stamos' attorney released a statement reacting to the airing of the information. "The allegations made today in the courtroom by the defendants' attorneys during opening statements will not be proven because they are simply untrue," read the statement.
Defense attorney Sarah Henderson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maarten Vermaat reportedly agreed in their opening statements that Coss and Stamos met in Orlando, Florida in 2004, not long after Stamos separated from his wife, supermodel Rebecca Romijn. Stamos, 46, is reported to have spotted Coss and another girl at a club and invited the teens to his hotel room. Two strippers later joined them in the room and allegedly brought along a bag of cocaine, which is when Coss and her friend are said to have taken a picture of Stamos bending over a table where the drugs had been laid out.
Henderson claimed that Stamos kissed Coss, got into a hot tub with the teen (who was in her underwear while he was nude) and offered to perform oral sex on her, which she declined. It is a second-degree felony in Florida for someone over 24 to have oral sex with a 16- or 17-year old. Henderson also said that a frustrated Stamos broke a bedpost with his hand and left the room, but he apologized and invited Coss to spend the night, which she did. The pair then reportedly maintained a "flirty" e-mail exchange for several years, but did not discuss the details of the 2004 encounter.
Last fall, Stamos received two e-mails from a "Jessica T," who claimed she was pregnant and that Stamos was the father, according to the prosecutor. Those were followed by several e-mails from a "Brian L" describing the allegedly compromising photos, which he said would be sold to tabloids if Stamos did not buy them for $680,000. Prosecutors have claimed that Coss and Sippola sent the e-mails, and though Henderson acknowledged that Coss used the pseudonym "Jessica T," the lawyer dismissed the e-mails as a trick to test Stamos' reaction in hopes of determining whether he was preying on young girls.
After the alleged scheme was hatched, Stamos contacted the FBI and two agents testified about a sting operation that ended with Coss and Sippola being arrested at an airport near Marquette, where an agent posing as a representative for Stamos had promised to leave a bag of cash. While Vermaat told the jury the plan was part of a "get-rich-quick scheme," defense attorneys said their clients had the right to try to sell photos to Stamos and that they considered it a legitimate business transaction, not a crime.