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Man gets prison in Diaz topless photo case

John Rutter was sentenced to nearly four years in prison
/ Source: 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 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.

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The judge sentenced him to three years and eight months in prison.

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.