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The Intersection

[Magic] Copperfield reappears!

The embattled showman takes the stage in the midst of controversy

John Katsilometes

It’s business as usual at the MGM Grand Hollywood Theatre this week. That is news, this week, because the showroom’s headliner is David Copperfield, who stands accused of raping a woman in the Bahamas in July. No charges have been filed, and Copperfield’s Las Vegas attorney David Chesnoff has denied the allegations. Last month, as part to its investigation into the allegation, the FBI raided Copperfield’s storage shed in Las Vegas, where much of his vintage magic memorabilia is stored, and confiscated video equipment. This week, the celebrity gossip website TMZ reported that a document titled “show participation” turned up in Copperfield’s possessions. The backstage instructions on how to entice women to meet the superstar illusionist make The Pick-up Artist’s Mystery look like a mere novice.

According to the TMZ report, Copperfield requires his staff to carry clipboards, a Polaroid camera, a digital camera, brochures of Copperfield’s island in the Bahamas and photos of Copperfield. The magician’s assistants are said to seek out beautiful women for a backstage visit, and their boyfriends or husbands are kept occupied in the arena or showroom with the help of a handy “What to Say” sheet.

As the women—who are referred to as “scorpions” if they have been called onstage as part of Copperfield’s act—are delivered to the star, they are asked if they would be available to appear on TV and radio ads and in other Copperfield promotions. The women fill out questionnaires that ask where they are from, at which hotel they are staying, and if they are visiting with their husband, boyfriend or just a friend.

The site has also posted a memo to Copperfield’s assistants from his attorneys informing them not to talk to the media about his show. This missive was delivered after the allegation surfaced. Copperfield has also canceled a series of tour dates overseas, but his reps claim that was because he was in a financial dispute with promoters and the dropped shows had nothing to do with the rape allegations.

But here in Vegas, it’s business as usual, for sure. Copperfield’s dates from November 15 to November 28, and from December 20 through January 2, 2008, are still on.

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