Noriega Sues Video Game Company Over Murderous Depiction

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 04:39 PM

By John Blosser

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Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega has filed a lawsuit from prison against a video game company, claiming that they used his name and image without his permission and branded him a "murderer and an enemy of the state."

In a suit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Noriega, 80, who currently is serving time in Panama's El Renacer prison after lengthy prison stretches in the U.S. and France, is going after Activision Blizzard, makers of the immensely popular video game, "Call of Duty; Black Ops II," for portraying him as a "kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state," the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The Times reported that "Black Ops II" has reaped over $1 billion in profits since first being released in 2012. Mirroring real life, "Black Ops" shows Noriega helping the CIA catch bad guys before switching to the other side.

Noriega was a close ally of the U.S. long before and as he ran Panama for six years, from 1983 to 1989, until President George H.W. Bush launched the invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989. Five days later, Noriega, on the run, holed up in the Vatican embassy in Panama City, but U.S. forces launched Operation Nifty Package, blaring loud rock music at the embassy, and 10 days later, Noriega surrendered.

In 1992, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison in Miami for drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering. The sentence was later reduced to 30 years. Seventeen years later, he was extradited to a prison in France, where he was sentenced to seven years for money laundering, and in 2011, he was extradited to Panama to serve a 20-year sentence for murder.

Within 24 hours of its release on Nov. 16, 2012, "Black Ops II" raked in $500 million, CNN reported.

Noriega's attorneys charge in the lawsuit, "Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff's image and likeness," the lawsuit says.

Noriega now shares something in common with actress Lindsey Lohan — she recently filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive in the state Supreme Court of New York, claiming that a character named Lacey Jonas in the video game "Grand Theft Auto V" copied her likeness.

The lawsuit claims, "The portraits of the Plaintiff incorporated her image, likeness, clothing, outfits, Plaintiff's clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses, jean shorts worn by the Plaintiff that were for sale to the public at least two years," the Times reported.

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