The defense rested Thursday in the trial of a photographer charged with forging Cameron Diaz’s signature in a bid to sell topless photos taken 11 years ago when she was a struggling model.
John Rutter, 42, ended two days on the stand, assuring jurors he believed Diaz’s signature on a release form was real when he tried to sell her the photos for $3.5 million shortly before the opening of her film, “Charlie’s Angeles: Full Throttle.”
“I believed it was real. I assumed it was real,” he said.
Rutter is charged with grand theft, forgery and perjury. Closing arguments in the case were expected Friday.
Rutter testified Wednesday under cross-examination that someone had likely faked Diaz’s signature on the release but said he didn’t do it.
He also testified that he was simply giving the “Shrek” and “There’s Something About Mary” star “right of first refusal” before he sold the photos to someone else.
If convicted, Rutter faces up to six years in prison. An extortion charge was dropped before the case went to trial.
The perjury charge stems from a statement in which Rutter said he had kept an original or copy of Diaz’s model release form since the shoot.
Under cross-examination from Deputy District Attorney David Walgren, Rutter acknowledged he hadn’t actually seen the release form until an assistant showed it to him on a computer screen in 2002.
Diaz testified last week that she never signed a release form for the shoot, in which she posed in an abandoned warehouse in leather boots and fishnet stockings. She was a 19-year-old aspiring model at the time.
Diaz testified that Rutter threatened to sell the images to buyers hoping to portray her as a “bad angel.”
A judge has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting him from distributing the photos.