Billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, has asked a U.S court to clamp a preliminary gag order on his ex-girlfriend, Autumn Spikes, who recently took to the social media to expose their secret affair of nearly 10 years.
Ms Spikes had, on January 1, via her Instagram handle, allarounda1, posted a viral video showing herself and Mr Dangote with part of the buttocks of the African richest man exposed.
Mr Dangote, who recently sued Ms Spikes for allegedly trying to extort $5million from him, hopes to obtain the “gag order” to stop her from carrying out an alleged threat to expose his private and family life on social media and media talk shows.
He filed the “petition for entry of the preliminary injunction”, through his U.S.-based lawyers on January 25, five days after he filed the libel suit on January 20.
“Wherefore, the plaintiff prays that the court enters an order of preliminary injunction and order defendant Autumn Spikes to show cause why she should not be the subject of a gag order,” Mr Dangote’s only prayer in his petition read.
It was confirmed on Saturday that the Miami-Dade County Court in Florida, U.S, has fixed February 9 for the hearing of the African richest man’s “petition for entry of the preliminary injunction”.
The hearing notice was issued Friday.
Mr Dangote’s lawyer, Bruce Fleisher, stated in the petition that defence lawyer, Paul Petruzzi, “has not agreed to accept service of process”, but “this complaint has been provided to him immediately upon filing”.
‘I anticipate an onslaught on social media, talk shows’
In the petition, Mr Dangote accused Ms Spikes of making “extortive demands” of $5million in the form of an alimony.
According to him, there was never a marital relationship between him and Ms Spikes granting her the right to alimony, which is the money a court orders someone to pay regularly to their former wife or husband after their marriage has ended.
“Mr Dangote, who said he “anticipates an onslaught of social media”, appealed to the court to grant him “the protection” of “a preliminary restraint before evidentiary hearing” in his suit.
His court document seen on Saturday, read in part, “There has never been a marital relationship or dependency relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant.
“Nevertheless, the defendant has made extortive demands upon the plaintiff pursuant to Fla. Stat. 836.05 unless he provides her with money or support which he is not obligated to pay pursuant to Fla. Stat. 771.01 et. seq.
“The defendant has made a claim tantamount to demand for lump sum alimony of five million Dollars ($5,000,000.00).
“Upon knowledge and belief, Autumn Spikes’ claim is that she will expose the defendant’s private life and family to talk shows and news media unless he complies with her demands.”
The document added, “The plaintiff anticipates an onslaught of social media and/or talk show requests with the service of this action.
“The protection to which the plaintiff is entitled is a preliminary restraint before evidentiary hearing.”
He contended, in his court document, that his “business acumen has made him a target for coercion by the defendant”, adding that Ms Spikes demanded “meritless claims of $5 million” in the nature of “palimony to which she is not legally entitled.”
Palimony is an amount of money a law court orders someone to pay regularly to a former partner whom they were living with but were not married to, but Mr Dangote also states at another point in the suit that the demand was in the nature of alimony.
Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) after break-up
Mr Dangote, who is seeking damages in excess of $3,000 against Ms Spikes, had instituted the suit following a disagreement between them over the terms of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) they were to enter into after their recent break-up.
An email exchange between Mr Dangote’s lawyer, Mr Bruce Fleisher, and Ms Spikes’, Paul Petruzzi, on January 13, provides an insight into the ramification surrounding the NDA.
The email exchange was filed as an exhibit in Mr Dangote’s suit.
Mr Dangote’s lawyer had, in the email, demanded to know “the basis of Ms Spikes’ demand” of $5million.
In his reply the same day, Mr Petruzzi, Ms Spikes lawyer, stated that the money was for the NDA proposed by Mr Dangote.
Mr Petruzzi described the affair between his client and Mr Dangote as “an ongoing intimate relationship for nearly the entire past decade since she was pretty young”.
He said the relationship “was quite involved and pretty interesting” but the African billionaire decided to break it off “for whatever reason” “as soon as one of his other ‘conquests’ broke her silence”.
He added, “Your client now wants my client to sign an NDA and, through his representatives, offered her money to do so.
“While I appreciate your client’s desire to continue to exercise his control over mine, she will only agree to the NDA proposed by your client in exchange for the lump sum of 5 million dollars.”
Ms Spikes claimed she rejected the monetary offers but noted she said she was “pressured and influenced” to sign the NDA.
The lady, who said she had yet to be served Mr Dangote’s suit, denied threatening to expose her private affairs with Mr Dangote to the public.
She added that the businessman had no admissible evidence to prove she made such threats, expressing confidence that the suit would be dismissed by the court.
There was also reported how the court gave Ms Spikes 20 days from the day she is served with the suit to file her response.
This newspaper confirmed that Ms Spikes’ legal team has not filed any response to any of the documents filed by Mr Dangote as of Saturday.