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Man pleads not guilty in Witherspoon case

Paparazzo is charged with battery after Disney park altercation
/ Source: Reuters

A photographer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he used unlawfully aggressive tactics to get pictures of actress Reese Witherspoon and her family while they were on a birthday outing to a Disney theme park.

Todd Kevin Wallace, 44, was charged with four counts of battery and causing mental suffering to a 5-year-old girl, her mother and two employees at Disney’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, Orange County, last month.

The “Legally Blonde” star and her family were at the park celebrating the birthday of her 6-year-old daughter.

Wallace’s camera is said to have struck another girl as he worked to get shots. Police said he then pushed two theme park workers when they tried to get Witherspoon’s party away from him.

Wallace could face up to 3 1/2 years in jail if convicted, His next court hearing is set for Oct. 28.

Wallace was arrested as authorities in California crack down against paparazzi who target celebrities following a series of altercations involving Witherspoon, actresses Lindsay Lohan and Scarlett Johansson.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law in September tripling the damages celebrities can win if they are assaulted during an encounter with photographers.

In Los Angeles County, prosecutors launched a probe earlier this year to determine whether paparazzi band together to provoke celebrities in what could amount to a criminal conspiracy.