A photographer faces up to five years in prison after a jury found him guilty Monday of trying to blackmail actress Cameron Diaz with topless...
LOS ANGELES — A photographer faces up to five years in prison after a jury found him guilty Monday of trying to blackmail actress Cameron Diaz with topless photos she posed for before she became famous.
The jury deliberated just 3 1/2 hours before convicting John Rutter, 42, of attempted grand theft, forgery and perjury in connection with his 2003 bid to sell the photos to the “Charlie’s Angels” star for $3.5 million.
Diaz, 32, wasn’t present when the verdict was read but praised the outcome in a statement.
“Although I wish that this unfortunate situation hadn’t occurred in the first place, I am very gratified that justice has been served,” the actress said.
Judge Michael Pastor called Rutter a “definite flight risk” and sent him immediately to jail, where he will remain until his sentencing Sept. 15.
Rutter’s mother wept hysterically outside the courtroom after sheriff’s deputies handcuffed him and took him away.
“This is the blackest day in John Rutter’s life and the bleakest,” his lawyer Mark Werksman said. “This was an epic battle between a rich and famous celebrity and a hard-working photographer. … She brought some very powerful enormous interests to bear against him, and her side prevailed in this litigation.”
The prosecutor denied the case was pursued more vigorously because of Diaz’s fame. “We don’t seek to tolerate serious crimes like forgery, perjury … be it against a celebrity or anyone else,” prosecutor David Walgren said.
He added that Rutter deserves prison time, but said it’s up to the judge whether to slap him with the maximum five years and four months or a lesser sentence.
Diaz denied she signed the “model release” form that Rutter said she had, and expert witnesses testified he forged the form with a computer graphics program.