Comedian Arsenio Hall has filed a defamation lawsuit against the singer Sinead O'Connor, who accused him of supplying drugs to music legend Prince, whose death on April 21 has prompted speculation about an overdose.
The US$5 million lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, refers to O'Connor as a "desperate attention-seeker" and claims Hall and O'Connor have not spoken in 25 years.
Prince died on April 21 at Paisley Park, his home-studio complex in a Minneapolis suburb. A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters prescription opioid drugs were found at the scene, and Minnesota media said the painkiller Percocet was found in his system.
Results from an autopsy could take weeks to be released publicly, authorities have said.
On Monday, the Irish singer, whose biggest hit was her 1990 version of the Prince song "Nothing Compares 2 U," posted a note on her Facebook page claiming Hall supplied drugs to Prince for years.
"Two words for the DEA investigating where prince got his drugs over the decades… Arsenio Hall," the post said.
O'Connor also claimed Hall, a former late-night talk show host, "spiked" her with an unknown drug years ago at a party.
Hall's lawsuit said O'Connor's statements had quickly gone viral, causing "substantial harm" to his reputation.
"O'Connor's heinous accusations that Hall engaged in this criminal conduct are despicable, fabricated lies," the complaint said.
In a Facebook post on Friday titled "Regarding Arse-inio Hall's laughable threats," O'Connor said she was "amused" by his accusations and added that authorities were taking her allegations seriously.
"I do not like drugs killing musicians. And I do not like Arsenio Hall," O'Connor wrote, before adding an expletive-laden insult.
Prince had been scheduled to meet with a doctor specializing in addiction treatment the day after his death, a lawyer for the doctor said on Thursday. Federal authorities, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, also said on Thursday they had joined the investigation of the singer's death.