Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has been portrayed as a "terrorised" woman who never attempted to extort money from the actor, with whom she has an 11-month old daughter.
Grigorieva's attorneys spoke publicly for the first time on the scandal that has engulfed Gibson over audiotapes of phone calls in which he rants at, and appears to threaten, his former lover.
Los Angeles police are investigating Gibson on suspicion of domestic abuse, and Grigorieva for possible extortion. Neither has been charged. Gibson and the Russian-born model and singer split up earlier this year after having a baby following the end of the Braveheart star's 28-year marriage. Gibson has remained silent about the controversy.
"The media seems to focus on whether Grigorieva extorted Mel Gibson," lawyer Daniel Horowitz said. He called her a "domestic violence victim who was beaten, she was terrorised".
Horowitz denied reports that Grigorieva asked for money in exchange for not releasing the infamous audio tapes, or photos of herself with a chipped tooth that she said resulted when the Oscar-winner allegedly punched her in the face.
But Horowitz said that "anybody who is beaten or threatened has the right to document it. Otherwise it is going to be Mel Gibson, one of the most popular loved superstars in the world against a lone woman."
Horowitz said Grigorieva did not profit from the leaked tapes and claimed that she had tried to hold back any publicity that would hurt Gibson.