Klein vs LaChapelle: Lap Dance

Beverly Hills’ so-called “dermatologist to the stars” Arnold Klein has accused David LaChapelle, photo-portraitist of the stars, of stealing his own artwork. The photographer admitted taking back his depiction of Michael Jackson lying dead in the lap of Jesus Christ, Pietà style, from Klein, but claims innocence of any criminal act. The two have been slugging it out for a year, but their dispute became public only recently, when the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to bring criminal charges against LaChapelle, saying that there was no proof of Klein’s allegations of grand theft nor LaChapelle’s denial of them: “Neither victim nor suspect can be corroborated.” Klein told authorities that the photograph, worth $48,000, had been a gift from LaChapelle, but when he sent it to LaChapelle for repairs, the photographer refused to return it, claiming it wasn’t a gift, but compensation for dermatological services Klein had failed to provide him. Whatever. The prosecutor has stated that “the matter cannot be proven BRD.”

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