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Justified?

Police probe Diaz-Timberlake paparazzi incident -- Photogs say the couple attacked them and stole a camera, but the stars say they acted in self-defense

Cameron Diaz | SHUTTER-BUGGED Diaz and Timberlake say they acted in self-defense, after the photographers jumped out at them
Image credit: Cameron Diaz: Kevork Djansezian/AP
SHUTTER-BUGGED Diaz and Timberlake say they acted in self-defense, after the photographers jumped out at them

Justin Timberlake was wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the word Criminal when he and Cameron Diaz got into a fracas with a pair of paparazzi on Saturday night. Now, the photographers say, the shirt should be taken literally. The Associated Press reports that the two men filed a complaint with the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing the couple of battery and grand theft, for taking one of the men's cameras.

The photographers, Saul Lazo and José Gonzalez, told their story to Us Weekly, which published Gonzalez's photos of the incident in this week's issue. The confrontation occurred Saturday night outside Hollywood's Chateau Marmont hotel. ''After we took a couple shots, Cameron just ran at me,'' Lazo told the magazine. ''She tried to take me down. Then she took my camera.'' While Diaz struck Lazo, Gonzalez told Us, ''I was trying to get the pictures, and Justin jumped in front of me to block the shots so there would be no evidence.''

Reps for Diaz and Timberlake said in a joint statement that the couple were merely defending themselves. ''Ms. Diaz and Mr. Timberlake were ambushed by two men, who jumped out of a concealed hiding place on a dark, deserted street, late at night,'' the statement said. ''Any actions by Diaz and Timberlake were merely taken in self-defense, as a reaction to the unprovoked and assaultive conduct of the two men.'' Diaz apparently made use of the martial-arts and detective skills she picked up from the Charlie's Angels movies, confiscating the camera ''in order to be able to identify the individuals who jumped out at them.'' She turned the camera over to police, the statement said. LAPD Officer Sarah Faden told AP that police are investigating the matter but are not actively pursuing arrests or charges.

Originally posted Nov 11, 2004