September 15, 2005

Man gets prison in Cameron Diaz topless photo case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles photographer who was
convicted of trying to sell topless pictures of actress Cameron
Diaz after forging her signature on a contract was sentenced on
Thursday to nearly four years in prison.

John Rutter, who prosecutors accused of trying to blackmail
Diaz for $3 million over the steamy, bondage-themed photos
taken before she was famous, was found guilty in July of
attempted grand theft, forgery and perjury.

Rutter had asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael
Pastor for probation, saying that the case was a
misunderstanding and that he had never intended Diaz any harm.
He faced a maximum term of five years behind bars.

The judge sentenced him to three years and eight months in

The 43-year-old photographer testified at the trial that he
believed Diaz's signature on a model release was genuine and
that he wanted to give the "Charlie's Angels" star the chance
to keep the 1992 photos out of circulation.

During her testimony, Diaz acknowledged posing
bare-breasted more than a decade ago, when she was a
19-year-old model looking to break into Hollywood, but said she
never signed a released and felt betrayed when Rutter tried to
sell her the pictures in 2003.

The California-born actress, who shot to fame by starring
opposite Jim Carrey in the 1994 comedy "The Mask," was not in
court for Rutter's sentencing.