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William Shatner may see Tampa man in court over paternity claim

The Hollywood star best known for going where no man has gone before may have a visit to a Florida courthouse in his future.

William Shatner, Capt. James T. Kirk of Star Trek fame, faces a lawsuit alleging slander, libel and defamation from a Tampa man who claims he's the actor's son.

Shatner has triggered an automatic relocation of the lawsuit from state to federal court, his only response so far to the lawsuit. The suit was filed last May in Hillsborough Circuit Court and moved this month to U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

No trial date has been set.

Shatner, 85, asked for the move because while plaintiff Peter Sloan is a resident of Florida, that's not the case for him and his codefendants — publicist Cherry Hepburn and social media director Paul Camuso.

Sloan maintains that he is the product of a one-night stand in 1956 between his mother, the late Kathy Burt, and Shatner, both of whom were young actors in Toronto at the time. Sloan was placed in an adoptive home after his birth and raised in New York.

Shatner has not responded to Sloan's requests for a DNA test.

Sloan says the Shatner camp has damaged his reputation by calling him a liar and depicting him as a crazy.

"All he has is denial," said Sloan, 60, a life insurance broker. "I have proof, even if it is circumstantial."

Sloan said he has gathered even more proof in the months since the lawsuit was filed.

Sloan has long said that in 1984, he met with Shatner on the set of the TV series T.J. Hooker and that the actor knew he might be getting together with a man who is his son. But Sloan kept no evidence of the get-together.

Now, more than 30 years later, those who arranged the meeting — former Hollywood producer E. Arthur Kean and his wife at the time, Adrea Nairne — heard about the lawsuit and reconnected with Sloan.

"That first meeting with Shatner had promise," said Nairne, 68, who lives in Nevada. "It's a shame it never provided the answers Peter was looking for."

Sloan said Shatner was open at the time to finding out whether they were related, but changed his mind a few weeks later.

Sloan said he first learned of the relationship when he reconnected with his birth mother in the 1980s. In a letter she later wrote to Sloan, she said his father could be Shatner or another man whose name she forgot, but the timing of her pregnancy convinced her it was Shatner.

Sloan now hopes a judge will agree that the only way to prove who is right would be a DNA test.

"What if I am wrong? That is a possibility," Sloan said. "I would accept it."

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

William Shatner may see Tampa man in court over paternity claim 02/14/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 6:32pm]
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