April 28, 2004 09:00 AM

Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed, has sued CBS for invasion of privacy and emotional distress over last week’s 48 Hours Investigates, which featured a photo of Diana as she lay dying after the 1997 Paris car crash that also claimed Dodi’s life.

Al Fayed’s lawyer Fred Gaines tells Reuters that the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles late last week, after the CBS program aired, and that Al Fayed’s legal action might be extended to include a defamation charge against the network.

No photo of Dodi was aired during the show, but Gaines said Al Fayed moved ahead with the suit regardless.

The program caused outrage on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially in Britain.

For its part, Buckingham Palace attempted to play down its reaction, so as not to give the CBS show more publicity. “We have made it clear in the past that this kind of thing is negative and entirely unhelpful, and can only be distressing for everyone concerned. We have nothing to add to that position,” a palace press spokesman told PEOPLE.

On Thursday, the morning after the CBS show, Al Fayed released to PEOPLE the text of an angry letter he wrote to CBS News president Andrew Heyward, expressing how “deeply distressed” he was to learn that the pictures were broadcast and reiterating his claim that this was a “murder” scene.

He wrote, “The pictures do not add anything to the investigation. This is simply sensationalism for its own sake. If you were the father of a son or daughter brutally murdered in such a way, could you bear to watch as the devastation scene of their death was broadcast?”

There has been no comment from CBS regarding the lawsuit.

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