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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Man charged over Diaz 'extortion bid'
Cameron Diaz
Diaz modelled before becoming an actress
A photographer has been charged with attempting to extort $3.3m (£2m) from actress Cameron Diaz over topless pictures taken before she was famous.

John Rutter is accused of trying to make the star pay millions of dollars to keep the pictures of her private.

He has also been charged with allegedly forging Diaz's signature on a release form giving him permission to sell the pictures.

Diaz, one of the stars of the Charlie's Angels movies, has already begun her own legal action to prevent the pictures, taken when she was 21, from being made public.

She contends she attended a private modelling session and that the photographs were never meant to be sold.

Mr Rutter, 41, was arrested at his Los Angeles home on Tuesday and was charged with attempted extortion, attempted grand theft and perjury, as well as two counts of forgery.

Bail has been set at $250,000 (£155,470) and he is expected to appear before a court on Thursday.

Raid

As Diaz sought an injunction last month against the photos being released, Mr Rutter denied attempting to extort money.

Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore
Diaz (centre) is a star of Charlie's Angels
He said he had contacted Diaz's lawyers to offer her the photos as a matter of courtesy before offering them to media outlets.

"This was a negotiation for a right of first refusal with Cameron Diaz's lawyers," Mr Rutter told a television show.

"A few hours after her lawyers offered to buy the photos my place was raided."

A judge has made a temporary order to keep the topless photographs of the actress under wraps until a court case decides their permanent fate.

He also ordered that a video - the contents of which neither side would discuss outside the court - should also remain out of the public domain.


SEE ALSO:
Diaz photos kept out of view
05 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Diaz seeks photo ban
16 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
In pictures: Charlie's Angels 2 première
19 Jun 03  |  Photo Gallery
'Offensive' Diaz ad slated
11 Oct 00  |  Entertainment


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