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News, Aug. 14: L.A. Photographer Charged Over Diaz Pics, Deliberations Resume in Sizemore Case, Leno Invites Recall Candidates on Show, More...

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Aug 14, 2003 | 10:38am EDT

Top Story: L.A. Photographer Charged Over Diaz Pics

A Los Angeles photographer was charged Wednesday with attempting to extort $3.3 million from actress Cameron Diaz over photos taken at a private modeling session in 1992--before the Charlie's Angels star became famous, Reuters reports. John Rutter, who was arrested Tuesday at his Venice apartment, was also charged with attempted grand theft and perjury and two counts of forgery. Diaz's publicist, Brad Cafarelli, had alleged the photographer was trying to extort money from Diaz, now 30, by giving her first shot at purchasing the pictures before contacting media outlets. Rutter claimed to have a signed release for the pictures, which he says include topless shots of a then-21-year-old Diaz, but the actress says she never signed a photo release and that the signature he produced is a forgery. Last month, Diaz sued Rutter to stop the release of the photos and Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Alan B. Haber agreed to seal the photos. Rutter, 41, and is being held on $250,000 bail pending an arraignment and faces a maximum of six years in prison if convicted.

Deliberations Resume in Sizemore-Fleiss Case

Jurors in the Tom Sizemore-Heidi Fleiss domestic violence trial will begin their second day of deliberations this morning, The Associated Press reports. The jury asked Superior Court Judge Antonio Barreto Jr. for the transcripts of the tape-recorded phone calls Sizemore made to his ex-girlfriend Fleiss and asked the judge for the specific definition of "intent to annoy." Sizemore, who starred in Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down, is facing charges of vandalism, threatening to inflict injury to a person or property, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, and making harassing phone calls. If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.

Producer Pleads Guilty in Seagal Shake Down Case

Steven Seagal's former business partner, Julius Nasso, admitted in federal court Wednesday that he plotted to have the mob shake down the action star. Under a plea deal, Nasso, who produced early Seagal films such as On Deadly Ground and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, will serve one year in prison and pay a $75,000 fine. According to the AP, Nasso said he had an "understanding" that a reputed capo in the Gambino crime family, Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, would confront Seagal about a debt in a way "that would be perceived to be a threat." Ciccone was convicted along with Peter Gotti, brother of late mob boss John Gotti, in a racketeering case and is awaiting sentencing. Nasso, however, maintains Seagal owes him $2.5 million and would sue him to get it back.

AMPAS Need Film Credits Sooner Than Later

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which each year asks studios and production companies to be punctual in submitting official screen credit forms for Oscar consideration, is requesting they be submitted earlier than the Dec. 1 deadline. According to Variety, the forms must officially be submitted to the Academy no later than 60 days after the opening of the qualifying Los Angeles release, or Dec. 1, whichever comes first. But because of next year's earlier Feb. 29 Oscarcast date, the official reminder list of eligible releases must be proofed, printed and ready to mail along with the nominations ballots on Jan. 2. Credits coordinator Torene Svitil told Variety there will therefore be very little time to make last-minute changes to the list.

Jay Leno Invites Recall Candidates on Show

Jay Leno has invited everyone making a bid in the California gubernatorial recall race to appear on NBC's The Tonight Show two weeks before the election, Reuters reports. "We're going to invite every single person running for governor to be in our audience Sept. 22," Leno said on Tuesday night's telecast during his opening monologue. "Here's your chance to get on national television with your issue." Leno jokingly added that he would even provide a booster seat for Diff'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman, who is running. A spokesman for Coleman told Reuters the former child star would take Leno up on his offer. According to state election officials, 135 candidates, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, have officially qualified for the ballot.

Madonna Lends Song for Estee Lauder Ad

The Fifth Element director Luc Besson has filmed a commercial for Estee Lauder's new fragrance, Beyond Paradise, starring supermodel Carolyn Murphy and featuring Madonna's "Love Profusion" single from her American Life album. According to Reuters, top special effects experts in France spent several months composing each frame of the 30-second spot, which will observe Murphy is in a magical world of water, flowers and fairies. The ad will debut in more than 10,000 movie theaters nationwide in September with a TV version set to air on MTV, VH1, E! and Style cable channels. What could be next for Madonna, an Old Navy commercial?

Insane Clown Posse Named Worst Band Ever

The Detroit rap duo Insane Clown Posse, known for their creepy face makeup and X-rated lyrics, have been named the worst band ever by Blender magazine. According to Reuters, Blender's September issue said Insane Clown Posse "sound even stupider than they look," and ridiculed them for rapping about "40-ouncers and venereal disease." Officials at the band's Psychopathic Records label were not happy about the rating and noted that the Insane Clown Posse's album The Wraith: Shangri-La, which was dubbed the worst by Blender, actually received a three-star review in the publication's January/February issue. No. 2 on the list

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