A photographer accused of threatening to sell topless photos of Cameron Diaz testified Wednesday that he initially thought the signature on her photo release form was authentic and acknowledged he hadn’t personally asked her to sign it.
John Rutter, 42, said his practice during photo shoots was to have an assistant take care of the forms instead.
He said that when he offered to sell the photos to Diaz in 2003 just before the release of “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” he was simply giving her “right of first refusal” before selling the shots to buyers worldwide.
“The movie was sexy. She’s sexy in my images. I thought there’d be a nice kind of synergy going on,” he testified.
Asked repeatedly by Deputy District Attorney David Walgren whether he now believes the signature is fake, Rutter said several times, “It looks like that.”
Prosecutors allege that Rutter forged Diaz’s signature on the photo release form and tried to sell the photos back to her for $3.5 million. He is charged with attempted grand theft, forgery and perjury.
Diaz, 32, testified last week that Rutter threatened to sell the images to buyers hoping to portray her as a “bad angel.”
Diaz was a 19-year-old aspiring model at the time the photos were taken. She testified that she never signed a form relating to the 1992 photo shoot, in which she posed in an abandoned warehouse in leather boots and fishnet stockings. Two forensic experts also testified the signature appeared to be forged.
Defense attorney Mark Werksman suggested Wednesday that others might have been responsible for the forgery.
Rutter was to take the stand again Thursday and closing arguments were expected Friday.
If convicted, Rutter could face up to six years in prison.
A judge has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Rutter from distributing the photos.