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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Win For Ryan O’Neal in Defamation Suit Surrounding Disputed Warhol

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An appeals court greenlighted Ryan O’Neal’s $1 million defamation lawsuit against Craig Nevius, a documentarian who told “Good Morning America” that the actor had stolen an Andy Warhol painting of Farrah Fawcett — a picture that is the subject of a separate lawsuit between O’Neal, Fawcett’s ex-husband, and the University of Texas. CBS reported yesterday that a split panel of justices ruled that “The inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence here would support a jury’s finding that Nevius harbored strong ill-feelings toward O’Neal.”

Nevius’s comment stems from the college’s 2009 lawsuit against O’Neal, in which it claimed that it was the rightful owner of the $30 million painting because it was part of the gift Fawcett bequeathed to her alma mater when she died earlier that year. O’Neal claims that Warhol gave him the painting and that it should remain in his possession.

Nevius’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the decision.

— Rachel Corbett

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