Jury gets case in trialover Diaz photographs
LOS ANGELES -- Jurors heard closing arguments Friday in the trial of a photographer charged with forging Cameron Diaz's signature in a bid to sell topless photos taken when she was a struggling model. Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told jurors that John Rutter was a con artist who was hoping for "a very quick payoff by ratcheting up the pressure" on Diaz. Rutter, 42, has testified that he believed Diaz' signature on a release form was real when he tried to sell her the photos for $3.5 million shortly before the opening of her film, "Charlie's Angeles: Full Throttle. He is charged with grand theft, forgery and perjury. If convicted, Rutter faces up to six years in prison. An extortion charge was dropped before the case went to trial. Diaz, 32, testified earlier that Rutter threatened to sell the images to buyers hoping to portray her as a "bad angel." The star of "There's Something About Mary" said she never signed a release form for the shoot, in which she posed in an abandoned warehouse in leather boots and fishnet stockings. She was a 19-year-old aspiring model at the time. Rutter said he was simply giving Diaz "right of first refusal" before he sold the photos to someone else. A judge has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting him from distributing the photos.
Jacko's brother defendsbirthday bash no-show
BERLIN (AP) -- Jermaine Jackson told reporters his brother Michael's child-molestation trial "tore him apart mentally" and left him too exhausted to attend their father's 76th birthday bash. Speculation had swirled on whether Jackson, recently acquitted on child-molestation charges in California, would attend Joe Jackson's celebration at the Estrel hotel.
Michael Jackson said in a posting on his Web site Thursday that he wouldn't make the trip to Berlin. "That's fine, he was very tired and he's resting," Jermaine Jackson said Friday. "His case tore him apart mentally. He's very strong mentally, but he needs his rest right now." Hundreds of fans, many of them dressed as Michael Jackson, thronged the massive hotel in Berlin's working-class neighborhood of Neukoelln for the party. Several said they had flown from Germany to support the pop star during his trial. Alexander Greve, who wore a single glove, black wig and sparkly silver jacket, said he stood outside the courthouse in Santa Maria for six days. "I even shook his hand," the 25-year-old Greve said. "That was a really great feeling."
Gallery director's joblessafter 'Daily Show' spoof
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An art gallery director says she was fired for talking on television about a sexually explicit caricature involving President Bush, an Arab sheik and a barrel of oil. Susan Buzzi was the Broward Art Guild's executive director and had worked with its gallery for more than 10 years. Buzzi and Alfred Phillips, who painted the piece, were among several people interviewed by comedian Ed Helms in a spoof news report of the art controversy on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" several weeks ago. Buzzi said she was told Wednesday that her "services are no longer required" at the gallery. "I certainly didn't expect this," she said Friday as helpers scooped up belongings and loaded them into a waiting car. Guild board members assured Phillips that Buzzi's firing had nothing to do with exhibiting his work or appearing on the comedy show. "However, I think the board members used poor judgment in their timing," he said. "It gives the appearance that censorship is alive and well."
Movie director Peter Yates is 76. Actress Jacqueline Brookes is 75. Political cartoonist Pat Oliphant is 70. Comedian Ruth Buzzi is 69. Actor Mark Goddard is 69. Actor Dan Hedaya is 65. Actor Chris Sarandon is 63. Comedian Gallagher is 59. Actor Robert Hays is 58. Former Republican National Chairman Marc Racicot is 57. Actor Michael Richards is 56. Actress Lynda Carter is 54. Movie director Gus Van Sant is 53. Country singer Pam Tillis is 48. Actor Kadeem Hardison is 40. Actress-singer Jennifer Lopez is 37. Actress Laura Leighton is 37. Actor John P. Navin Jr. is 37. Actress-singer Kristin Chenoweth is 35. Actress Elisabeth Moss ("The West Wing") is 23. Actress Anna Paquin is 23. Actress Mara Wilson is 18.