Robert Rosen was obviously connected to that Seaman guy who was the Lennons personal assistant in 1979, but never met the Lennons himself.
Here some more info:
Friend: Lennon's assistant planned to exploit Beatle
From the day he was hired as John Lennon's personal assistant, Frederic Seaman planned to exploit the former Beatle's life. He asked a friend to collaborate on a book, began stockpiling Lennon's personal items, and then eventually raided his collaborator's house looking for them, according to the friend.
"I was naive. It was not 100 percent clear to me what was going on until I came home and found my house ransacked," said Robert Rosen, who testified Thursday in a civil suit brought against Seaman by Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. "Then it was very clear what was going on."
According to Rosen, Seaman robbed his house in 1982 while Rosen was on a vacation sponsored by a backer for their book. The incident marked an abrupt turn in the relationship between the two men, who had been friends since their days at the City College of New York newspaper in the early 1970s.
Seaman later admitted to Rosen that he had pilfered his house for the Lennon-related materials the two had been keeping there. "[Seaman] said he did it, what was I going to do about it?" Rosen testified. "He inquired if I was going to sell my body on the street or commit suicide. I went into a state of shock."
Ono, 69, is suing Seaman for violating a confidentiality agreement she claims he signed at the start of his employment. She wants the copyright to 374 photos that Seaman took of the family in the last years of Lennon's life, and about $74,000 in profit from sales of Lennon memorabilia he allegedly smuggled out of the family's home.
Rosen supported Ono's assertions on the stand Thursday. Though he appeared nervous, the writer remained firm in his account of Seaman's literary ambitions and contradicted Seaman's claim that Lennon authorized him to keep the photos he had taken.
Seaman first entered the LennonвЂ™s orbit through relatives. His uncle, Norman Seaman, had produced some of Ono's avant garde performances at Carnegie Hall in the 1960s, and his aunt, Helen Seaman, was governess to Sean Lennon, who was born in 1975. He was fresh out of journalism school when they hired him in February 1979.
The day he was hired, Seaman came to Rosen's house with the news. "We should collaborate on a book someday about the LennonвЂ™s," he told Rosen, according to the writer.
For the next two years, Seaman called Rosen regularly to report on events in the Lennon household вЂ” sometimes as many as three times per week, Rosen said.
When John Lennon was shot on Dec. 8, 1980, the book project shifted into high gear. The next day, according to Rosen, Seaman called. "It was agreed that now was the time to begin working on it," the writer testified. Rosen drafted a contract, and two weeks later, he and Seaman signed it in front of a notary public.
Judging by the contract, which was shown in court Thursday, the two men had grand aspirations. One section of the document stipulates that the two evenly split any profits from "T-shirts, posters, buttons, John and Yoko Dolls, etc." But the real money was yet to come.
As part of a project Rosen said they called "Project Walrus," Seaman began bringing materials belonging to Lennon to Rosen's house in early 1981, including slides, documents, audiotapes and memos that Lennon had written to Seaman. "By the end, I had boxes piled up to the ceiling," he said.
In June 1981 Seaman produced the holy grail: Lennon's diaries.
On cross-examination, Seaman's attorney, Glenn Wolther, suggested that Rosen must have realized that the diaries were stolen. Rosen, who spat out answers to Wolther's questions in seeming disgust, said that Seaman claimed to have been brought into Lennon's confidence. According to Rosen, Seaman said Lennon pulled him aside while on a trip to Bermuda in 1980, and ask Seaman to tell the real story of his life. "He said that [Lennon said] he should avail himself of any research materials necessary," Rosen testified.
Rosen spent weeks poring over the handwritten journals, photocopying parts and transcribing others. Around that time, businessman Norman Schoenfeld began underwriting the project. His arrival marked the beginning of the end of Rosen's involvement: Schoenfeld recognized the value of the diaries, and engendered in Seaman grand dreams of wealth from their sale.
As portions of Seaman's own diary, read in court Wednesday, show, Schoenfeld thought a $5 million price was not out of reach, and the team would soon be at "parties and yachts on the Riviera."
The prospect of simply selling the diaries instead of incorporating them into a book вЂ” which would have required Rosen's input вЂ” might have proved more appealing to Seaman, but he never got a chance to sell them. After he was violently cut out of the project, Rosen went straight to the police. Seaman was arrested and, in 1983, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and received five years' probation. A condition of the sentence: he was ordered to return all property he had stolen, including the diaries, audiotapes, letters, memos and even stereo equipment, to Ono.
Meanwhile, Rosen was preparing a manuscript on his experience with Seaman, and he shopped it around to New York magazines, including Rolling Stone. The proposal, which included excerpts of Lennon's diaries that Rosen had apparently committed to memory, caught the eye of Jan Wenner, a friend of Ono. He called Rosen, explaining that he couldn't publish the article without more proof, but added he wanted to speak to him about a different matter.
"He said the only thing I could do to save my karma was to tell the story to Yoko," Rosen testified. Over the next weeks and months, Rosen unburdened himself to the widow.
For 20 years, while freelancing for car magazines, interior decorating magazines, and even writing speeches for the secretary of the Air Force, Rosen kept alive his passion for Lennon. He ultimately published "Nowhere Man," a biography of Lennon, in 2000.
Earlier Thursday, Ono took the stand again to answer Wolther's questions about a photo credit included in a 1998 Capitol Records press packet. Wolther maintains that the photo, a 1980 shot of Lennon with his son Sean in Bermuda, was deliberately credited to another photographer, although Seaman had taken it. But Ono backed up the testimony of her photo librarian, who also testified Thursday, denying that she sought to shun Seaman.
Sean Lennon, now 26, has sat in the front row of the gallery each day of the four-day trial, paying increasing attention to the courtroom artists, mother-daughter team Shirley and Andrea Shepard. On Thursday, Lennon took up their tools himself to render the courtroom scene. Onlookers who huddled around him during breaks to watch the progress of his sketch said the result surpassed that of the Shepards.
Lawyers will present their closing arguments Friday morning when court resumes at 10 a.m., and the eight-person jury may get the case Monday.
Yoko Ono's battle over Beatle booty ends
A bitter 20-year battle between Yoko Ono and a former assistant of John Lennon ended Friday when the two reached a settlement over hundreds of photos and other items the assistant stole from the family during the Beatle's final years.
As part of the settlement, Frederic Seaman, 49, who worked for the LennonвЂ™s between 1979 and 1981, relinquished his copyright claim to 374 photos he took of the family and issued a public apology to Ono and her son Sean Lennon, who accompanied his mother to court each day of the four-day trial.
"After more than 20 years, it is time for me to ask your forgiveness for my actions. It is impossible to undo what has taken place but it stops here and now," Seaman said in a statement read in court by Ono's lawyer, Paul LiCalsi.
After LiCalsi read the terms of the settlement into the record, U.S. District Judge Leonard Sands asked Seaman and Ono each to take the stand to confirm they agreed with the deal. Seaman issued curt responses to Sands' questioning, and Ono nodded politely. She left the stand in tears.
"I feel very very happy and satisfied with the results," said Ono, 69, outside the courtroom. "It was difficult for me to sit through, but it was something I had to do."
Some of the most emotional moments of the trial came when Ono's lawyers showed photos and video of John during his last year. The courtroom caught rare glimpses of the LennonвЂ™s most private and final moments together. During the playing of one video, shot by John and showing Ono and a then-5-year-old Sean playing in the grass, the mother and her son, now 26, locked eyes.
LiCalsi said that the smoking gun in his case was Seaman's own diaries from the time he worked for the LennonвЂ™s. In the diaries, he meticulously detailed his intention to exploit his job for future profit, through sale of a book on the family and publication of Lennon's personal manuscripts, letters and diary entries.
Ono obtained Seaman's diaries in 1982 from an anonymous source, along with copies of the diaries he had stolen from John, in exchange for "a large sum of cash," LiCalsi said. "Luckily we had the originals for 20 years."
According to LiCalsi, the lawyers worked on the deal until 2:30 a.m. Friday and didn't finalize it until 10 minutes before it was announced.
If the case had gone to the jury, as it was expected to Friday, Seaman could have been forced to pay Ono $74,000 in profits he gleaned from sale of Lennon memorabilia and photos.
"I feel that Mr. Seaman has made a career out of exploiting this family," said juror Anna Crafton, 27, a graduate student in Manhattan and an admitted Beatles fan. "I'm very pleased with the outcome."
In 1983, Seaman pleaded guilty to larceny for pinching the diaries and other items from the Lennon home, and received five years' probation on the condition that he return the stolen goods.
Seaman's lawyer, Glenn Wolther, said outside the courthouse that the settlement was a fair one given the circumstances. "The judge's decision yesterday dealt a critical setback to our case," he noted, referring to two rulings in which Judge Sands validated a confidentiality agreement Seaman had signed with the LennonвЂ™s, and ruled that he had breached it.
Seaman did win two minor victories, however, in an otherwise lopsided deal. As part of the settlement, Ono will return Seaman's original diaries to him but will be permitted to keep copies. Seaman will also receive a photo credit each time one of his best photographs вЂ” a shot of John and Sean Lennon on the beach in Bermuda in 1980 вЂ” is used.
Seaman will also be prevented from exploiting, commercially or otherwise, any "information, fact, anecdotes or other statements relating in any way to John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Sean Lennon," the settlement reads.
Sands told the jury he didn't think there would have been a settlement if the case hadn't gone to trial. "Hopefully this is the end of a bitter chapter in their lives" said the avuncular jurist.
After court adjourned, Ono ducked into the jury room to personally thank each of the eight jurors, until a court deputy ordered her to leave. "That's the kind of thing you could be arrested for," said the deputy, who later smiled as Ono offered her, too, a personal thank you.
Sean Lennon, who entertained courtroom observers Thursday by making sketches of some of the witnesses, said he was relieved to have the case settled. "It dragged on longer than I ever could have imagined. I'm just glad it's over."