Writer Maya Angelou has been hit with a federal lawsuit from a man who had hoped to market her poetry.

BUTCH LEWIS claims he and Angelou two met in 1994, after he asked the writer to visit fallen boxer Mike Tyson in prison. He claims he eventually worked out a plan to market Angelou's poems through HALLMARK cards.

The suit states that in 2000, Hallmark and Angelou - a close friend of OPRAH WINFREY - signed a licensing agreement with a minimum payment of $2 million (GBP1 million) and now Lewis wants his cash.

But Angelou's lawyer tells US TV show CELEBRITY JUSTICE, "At trial we will prove there was no enforceable contractual arrangement" between Angelou and Lewis.

Bosses at Hallmark say they do not believe Lewis has a valid claim against the company, and that they were willing to work with him while they believed he was Angelou's licensing agent and had the right to represent her.

17/05/2005 02:47