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Saturday, December 5, 1998 Published at 18:40 GMT


Supermodel Naomi vows to fight assault charge

Naomi Campbell will "vigorously" fight the charges

The British supermodel Naomi Campbell is vowing to fight assault charges lodged against her by the former assistant she labelled a "disgruntled employee".

A spokeswoman for the model in the UK said the case against her was motivated by "sour grapes".

Miss Campbell is accused of assaulting former personal assistant Georgina Galanis at a hotel in Toronto, where she was on location making a film, on 9 September.

[ image: The model was alleged to have attacked her assistant while in Toronto]
The model was alleged to have attacked her assistant while in Toronto
Ms Galanis, aged 39, who is reportedly claiming $2m (£1.2m) in compensation and punitive damages for the alleged attack, claims the model hit her over the head with a telephone and also grabbed her neck and slammed her against a wall.

Ms Campbell's spokeswoman, Marcia Horowitz, said in a statement: "These charges are nothing more than an attempt by a disgruntled employee, who was terminated for unsatisfactory performance after just one week, to make money at Naomi's expense.

"Naomi will vigorously fight these charges."

Miranda Denoff, a spokeswoman for the Elite Premier agency which handles Ms Campbell's affairs in the UK, said the model will spend the next couple of days at her New York home.

"From her point of view, it is very upsetting when something like this happens.

"As far as she is concerned, it is a case of sour grapes by an ex-employee trying to cash in on the loss of her job. It is unfortunate."

[ image: Naomi Campbell has been modelling for 13 years]
Naomi Campbell has been modelling for 13 years
New Yorker Ms Galanis claims she worked for the model for nine days and during her last two days in the job she was assaulted in a luxury hotel in Toronto during shooting of the film Prisoner of Love.

She filed the lawsuit in September in Manhattan's State Supreme Court.

Ms Campbell, 28, appeared in court in Toronto on Friday for the one-hour hearing, accompanied by prominent Canadian lawyer Brian Greenspan.

The next court hearing is scheduled for 11 December but Mr Greenspan said his client would not be attending.

"All these administrative appearances that will take place over the next months are appearances where she need not appear and she won't," he said.

In Canada a first-time offender could be sent to jail on an assault conviction but judges have discretion.

Ms Campbell's mother Valerie, who lives in Surrey, refused to comment on the case and her spokesman, Paul Pearson, attacked the press for hounding the supermodel.

Ms Campbell's alleged prima donna-like behaviour on the set of the film provoked rumours in Toronto at the time.

In the film, set for release in early 1999, she plays an aspiring artist who witnesses a Mob hit and is protected by the man sent to kill her.

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