The Milk star lodged papers with the State Supreme Court of New York last month (Sep15), alleging the Empire co-creator made "false and defamatory statements" about him in relation to domestic abuse.

Defending his Empire leading man Terrence Howard after he confessed to lashing out at his ex-wives in a new Rolling Stone interview, Daniels stated he didn't understand why the often misunderstood actor was so vilified.

The director said, "He (Howard) ain't done nothing different (sic) than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f**kin' demon... That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America."

In response, Penn filed the $10 million (£6.3 million) suit, calling Daniels' remarks "reckless and malicious", while his lawyer declares the actor has "been the subject of scandalous, scurrilous and baseless attacks" for years.

Penn has often lashed out at the paparazzi and he has been prosecuted for his actions, but he has never been charged with hitting a woman.

In his first response to the lawsuit, Daniels has requested to move the case from New York, where Daniels lives, to a federal district court. Since Penn, who lives in California, is seeking the millions in damages, the amount qualifies the case to be heard in a federal court.

Representatives for Daniels and Penn have not commented on the director's request.