'I paid Bennett but never had sex'

US actor's lawyer says #MeToo figure's denial false

(ANSA) - Rome, August 22 - Asia Argento admitted paying actor Jimmy Bennett $380,000 to settle an abuse lawsuit but said she had done it to avert blackmail, saying she had never had sex with the former child actor.
    Saying she was "shocked and wounded" by what she called "fake news", the Italian actress and #MeToo figurehead said her partner, late chef Anthony Bourdain, had advised her to make the payout to stop Bennett keeping asking her for money.
    A lawyer for Bennett said Argento's denial that the two had allegedly non-consensual sex five years ago was false.
    The 22-year-old's lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, said he was working with his client on a statement, the New York Times reported.
    The TMZ website published a selfie of the pair lying in bed and said it was one of four snaps taken in a Marina del Rey hotel in 2013.
    TMZ also published a text message allegedly from Argento to a friend saying "I had sex with him, I didn't know he was under age until the blackmail letter arrived".
    She also allegedly said "that horny kid jumped on me".