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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Snapper denies Diaz extortion
Cameron Diaz
Diaz modelled before becoming an actress
A man has pleaded innocent to allegedly trying to use photos of Cameron Diaz to extort £2m from her.

John Rutter appeared in court in Los Angeles on Thursday accused of trying to make the star pay to keep the pictures private.

The photographer is also charged with forging Diaz's signature on a form giving him permission to sell the photos.

Mr Rutter was arrested at home on 12 August and charged with attempted extortion, attempted grand theft and perjury and two counts of forgery.

He was held in custody in lieu of £158,000 bail on 14 August.

If Mr Rutter submits the bail money, he has been ordered not to have any contact with Diaz.

Diaz, one of the stars of the Charlie's Angels movies and the highest paid actress in Hollywood, is taking her own legal action to prevent the pictures, taken when she was 21, from being made public.

She is seeking an injunction, contending that the pictures were taken at a private modelling session and were never meant to be sold.

Sealed evidence

On Thursday, Mr Rutter's lawyer, John Powers, disputed reports that the photos included those where Diaz was topless.

"You'll be surprised how tame some of these shots are," said Mr John Powers.

Lawyers acting for Diaz have refused to describe the photos or discuss a videotape taken from Mr Rutter's apartment.

The judge ordered in July that the photographs and the videotape be kept out of the public domain until a hearing on Diaz's injunction request.

On Thursday, a hearing date was set for 10 September.

Mr Rutter said in an interview in July that the photographs were taken well before Diaz became famous, thanks to her 1994 hit The Mask.

Mr Rutter claims he contacted Diaz's attorneys to offer them first refusal on the photographs before trying to sell them to the media.

Soon after, his apartment was raided by authorities and the photos seized, Mr Rutter says.

A publicist for Diaz has said the actress did not sign a release form for the pictures and that the one produced by Mr Rutter is a forgery.

Mr Rutter faces up to six years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

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