*Steve Harvey has won a long-running legal battle over unreleased comedy tapes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On Thursday, the “Family Feud” host convinced a Texas jury that he didn’t breach his contract with Joseph Cooper, who was hired back in 1993 to tape performances at Harvey’s club in Dallas. The jury also found that Cooper misappropriated Harvey’s name or likeness in attempting to commercially exploit the tapes.
According to THR, Cooper was demanding $50 million after Harvey got in the way of the videographer’s attempt to release highlights from about 120 hours of footage. Harvey contended the material was shot for internal use and that Cooper has been attempting to extort him by telling others there’s potentially embarrassing material on the tapes. According to one report, the tapes included Harvey telling his audience, “Go assault old white women,” among other inflammatory comments.
According to a verdict form, the jury found that Cooper hadn’t proved by a preponderance of evidence that he and Harvey entered into a valid contract. As such, the jury didn’t need to examine whether Harvey breached the agreement by interfering with a potential distribution deal. Nor did the jury have to rule on Harvey’s other affirmative defenses including a contention that the contract Cooper submitted for consideration represented a mutual mistake by the parties.
Harvey not only beats back the $50 million contract claim, but has gotten the jury to rule that Cooper misused the comedian’s identity without consent.