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Cher Scores Small Victory in $1 Million War With Sonny Bono's Widow, Mary Ordered to Turn Over Emails in Court Battle

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Source: MEGA

Dec. 29 2023, Published 3:00 p.m. ET

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Cher scored a major win in her bombshell court war over royalties with Sonny Bono’s widow.

According to court documents obtained by RadarOnline.com, Mary Bono was ordered to hand over all electronic communications with a music publishing firm that allegedly helped her divert Cher’s 50% portion of the royalties to Sonny’s adult children, court documents showed.

“Defendant is ordered to produce the communications at issue without redactions,” U.S. Magistrate Rozella A. Oliver wrote in the 11-page order that requires Mary to hand over the communications by January 9, 2024.

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Source: MEGA

Iconic singer Cher is engaged in a long running federal lawsuit against Sonny Bono's widow, Mary (r).

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Cher slammed Mary with the lawsuit charging she secretly began siphoning thousands of dollars in royalty payments generated by Sonny and Cher’s vast music collection and smash hits such as I Got You Babe and The Beat Goes On.

The 77-year-old Grammy winner claimed an ironclad Marriage Settlement Agreement (MSA) she signed with Sonny in 1978 mandates her 50% cut of the duo’s compositions and record sales following their separation and eventual divorce.

Mary, who was married to Sonny for 12 years until his 1998 ski accident death, had a 50/50 cooperating agreement with Cher. But the relationship went south in 2021 when Mary decided to cut Cher off from the royalties — citing a federal Copyright Act.

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King called the conservatorship "deeply disturbing."

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Mary claimed she no longer owed Cher any cut of the royalties.

A pre-trial battle erupted when Cher subpoenaed all communications between Mary and Wixen Music Publishing, Inc., the firm that manages the royalties.

Mary tried to block the production by claiming attorney-client privilege — arguing her lawyers consulted with Wixen before diverting the cash — and a work-product clause that protects confidential business information.

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Source: MEGA

The duo were known for their classics, I Got You Babe and The Beat Goes On.

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But Magistrate Oliver dismissed both arguments and determined Mary “falls short of meeting her burden to support the assertion[s]” of the attorney-client and the work-product clause.

Oliver determined the attorney-client privilege didn’t apply because no one knew Cher was going to file a lawsuit once they diverted the cash. The work-product doctrine also didn’t apply since Wixen once worked for Cher who is entitled to the same data Mary was trying to conceal.

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Source: MEGA

Mary was recently ordered by a federal judge to hand over her emails with the firm that administers the music catalogue.

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“[Mary] also argues that Wixen, as a music publisher, did not owe [Cher] any fiduciary duties,” the magistrate noted. “However, [Mary] agrees that Wixen was [Cher’s] agent and [Mary's] agent, and an agent owes a principal fiduciary duties.”

“If Wixen did not owe [Cher] fiduciary duties, then Wixen was not [Cher’s] agent. But if the 2011 Agreements were not sufficient to establish an agency relationship with Wixen, it is unclear how the 2019/2020 Agreement established an agency relationship between [Mary] and Wixen,” the magistrate added.

“Thus, Defendant’s argument would lead to a conclusion that Wixen was never an agent to either [May] or [Cher]. The inclusion of a non-agent third party on an otherwise privileged communication would also waive the privilege.”

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