News Article

Fatal Retraction

Accused stalker apologizes to Zeta-Jones. In a letter, she writes that she's a ''confused young woman infatuated with Michael Douglas''

The woman accused of stalking Catherine Zeta-Jones and bombarding her with threatening letters and phone calls apologized to the Oscar winner and her family in a letter made public on Tuesday, while her lawyer told reporters that she was a harmless prankster who needs counseling. According to wire service reports, the lawyer, Richard P. Herman, divulged the letter of apology and made his remarks to reporters outside a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court in the case against 32-year-old Dawnette Knight.

Knight was arrested earlier this month in Beverly Hills and charged with one count of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats. In the letter, addressed to Zeta-Jones and her father-in-law, Kirk Douglas, Knight writes, ''I want to apologize for any distress I have caused you and your families.'' She characterizes herself as a ''confused young woman infatuated with Michael Douglas'' who has ''no rational explanation for my actions.'' Asking for forgiveness, she writes, ''It would be a wonderful good deed if you would all forgive me so that I can go back to college to finish my studies in child psychology.''

Zeta-Jones did not attend the hearing; she's currently in Europe shooting ''Ocean's Twelve.'' Knight, who's being held on $1 million bail because police consider her a flight risk, is due back in court on July 26 for another hearing. Ultimately, she could face 19 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

Knight has pleaded not guilty to the charges; in fact, Herman described her as someone who became ''confused and thought she was doing something as a prank, and it got taken much too seriously because that's the age we live in.'' He agreed with his client's written contention that she ''would never harm anyone,'' saying, ''There was never ever any chance that anything would ever happen.'' Rather than jail time, he said, she should have therapy. ''It's our hope that she receive the counseling that she needs and that we put all this behind us,'' he said.

Originally posted Jun 30, 2004