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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 11:35 GMT
Man 'tried to sell Diaz photos'
Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz became famous after the photos were taken
A photographer tried to extort $3.3m (1.9m) from actress Cameron Diaz for topless photos taken of her before she was famous, a court has heard.

John Rutter, 41, then allegedly tried to sell the 20 photos to a European group for $5m (2.9m).

Miss Diaz, 31, said Mr Rutter had no legal right to sell the pictures, Los Angeles Superior Court heard.

Mr Rutter - charged with attempted extortion, attempted theft, perjury and forgery - was released on bail.


Detective Brian Bennett, an investigator from the District Attorney's office in Los Angeles, said during a preliminary hearing for the case that the majority of the 20 photographs depicted Miss Diaz topless.

Mr Rutter took the photos of the actress in 1992, two years before she shot to stardom in the Jim Carrey film The Mask.

Mr Bennett said the star was worried that the photos would damage her chances of landing roles in family films including the upcoming sequel to Shrek, released next summer.

According to Miss Diaz, Mr Rutter threatened to sell the photos to a European agency who planned to use them to promote the summer release of Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle.

However, she told him they were never intended for publication.


She also says Mr Rutter did not own the rights to the photos and forged her signature on a release form in order to try and sell them.

Mr Rutter said he rang Miss Diaz's lawyers in June offering them first refusal over the photos. Soon after, he said, police raided his house and seized the photos.

He was arrested on 12 August and later that month was denied release from jail and ordered to stay away from Diaz.

Miss Diaz has also taken out a civil suit against Mr Rutter to prevent the photos from being published.

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