Dina Shacknai's lawyers respond to lawsuit ruling

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Lawyers for a Valley woman accused in a lawsuit of murdering her ex-husband's new girlfriend call it "baseless and senseless."

The response from Dina Shacknai’s attorneys follows the recent ruling in the wrongful death suit brought forth by the family of Rebecca Zahau.

A U.S. District judge ruled last week that the plaintiffs' complaint contains the minimum sufficient allegations to allow the civil lawsuit to move forward.

Zahau was found naked, hanging from the balcony of a Coronado Island mansion in July 2011. Her hands were bound behind her.

The mansion belonged to Valley millionaire Jonah Shacknai, the former CEO of Medicis.

Shacknai and Zahau were vacationing with Shacknai’s 6-year-old son, Max.

Two days before Zahau’s death, Max fell down a flight of stairs while she was baby-sitting him. Max later died at a hospital.

Zahau's death was ruled a suicide, but her family always believed her death was suspicious and that evidence showed she did not kill herself.

So Zahau's family filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit. It accuses Dina, her sister, Nina, and Jonah's brother, Adam, of killing Zahau.

Dina Shacknai's attorneys deny that their client had anything to do with Zahau's death.

Below is the full statement from Dina Shacknai's attorney, Kim Schumann:

"The court's ruling is not a statement as to whether or not the allegations are truthful, or proper, or even have any basis in fact.

"The complaint only contains allegations, and no evidence has been presented to the court to support these allegations. These are simply unsupported assertions by the Plaintiffs who, in this beginning phase of the litigation, are able to allege almost whatever they want. The general public needs to be aware that the court did not determine or substantiate the accuracy of these allegations in making its ruling. The Plaintiffs obviously wish to portray their allegations in a light that will support their claims for recovery of money. We have no doubt that when the actual facts are made known, Ms. Shacknai and her sister will be vindicated regarding any involvement related to Rebecca Zahau’s tragic death.

"Let me be perfectly clear. This is a baseless and senseless lawsuit. Our client Dina Shacknai’s reputation has been irreparably damaged by these allegations.  We intend to swiftly and aggressively put an end to this matter by every legal means necessary, and will be taking appropriate steps to remedy Ms. Shacknai’s reputational damages and the harm done to the judicial process."