News Article

Camera Shy

Cameron Diaz photographer pleads not guilty. He denies trying to extort $3.3 million from the star over what his lawyer calls ''tame'' pre-fame photos

Cameron Diaz and photographer John Rutter may be courtroom antagonists but they share an unwillingness to have unauthorized photographic images of themselves made public. An attorney for Rutter, who pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that he had tried to extort $3.3 million from the actress for pre-stardom portraits he shot of her a decade ago, successfully petitioned the Los Angeles Superior Court to remove cameras from the courtroom. According to the Associated Press, attorney John Powers successfully argued that pictures of Rutter in prison garb could prejudice the jury pool.

Rutter has been jailed since Aug. 12 on charges of attempted extortion, grand theft, perjury and forgery. (If he were to make the $250,000 bail, he would be barred from making contact with Diaz, the court has said.) She accuses him of forging her signature on the release form for the photos, which he shot when she was 21 and still awaiting her big break in 1994's ''The Mask.'' (She turns 31 on Saturday.) Rutter has denied the forgery allegation and has said that he solicited her purchase of the photos out of courtesy, so as to offer her an option of first refusal before he sold them to someone else.

Diaz's camp has declined to describe the photos, which have been sealed (along with a videotape seized from Rutter's apartment) under a preliminary injunction. But Powers told reporters outside the courtroom that the pictures weren't as risqué as some reports have made them out to be. ''You'll be surprised how tame some of these shots are,'' he said.

Originally posted Aug 29, 2003