05/25/2004 AT 9:15 AM ET
Make that two divorces in the life of Liza Minnelli’s ex, producer David Gest.
On Monday, Gest’s high-profile lawyer Raoul Felder dumped his client, though the lawyer (recently the subject of a lengthy and colorful New Yorker magazine profile that painted him as dogged and determined) called the parting amicable, according to reports.
Felder said he was calling it quits because he was finding it difficult to reach his client on the phone because of the time difference between Felder’s New York office and Gest’s Hawaiian home, and because Gest was often ill.
“There was no bad feelings. He wants to go in a different direction,” said Felder. “I told him I had a great deal of respect and admiration for him in the face of adversity.”
The New York Post reports that Gest’s camp was upset that Felder was trying the case in the press rather than in the court, which (as the New Yorker pointed out) is a typical Felder strategy.
After 18 moths of marriage following a star-studded and highly unusual wedding in New York, Gest, 51, filed for divorce from Minnelli, 58, last October, alleging that she severely beat him while under the influence of alcohol and suing her for $10 million.
Minnelli has countersued, but there have been reports that the couple’s pre-nup agreement may be iron-clad.
Gest has since hired a new lawyer, James Doherty, who on Monday, joined Minnelli’s counsel Dorothy Weber in telling New York State Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon that depositions from the two sides would be heard in June, Reuters reports.