LOS ANGELES - The photographer who took topless photos of a 19-year-old aspiring model named Cameron Diaz, then attempted to sell them back to her after she became a star, now faces up to six years in prison.
John Rutter was convicted Monday of forgery, attempted grand theft and perjury. Rutter had testified that he gave Diaz two days to pay him $3.5 million for the photos before he shopped them to prospective buyers for a campaign timed to coincide with the 2003 release of her film "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."
But he said he was only offering Diaz "right of first refusal," not trying to blackmail her.
"Although I wish that this unfortunate situation hadn't occurred in the first place, I am very gratified that justice has been served," Diaz said in a statement.
Diaz, whose screen credits include "Shrek" and "There's Something About Mary," testified that she wasn't ashamed of the shots and had offered at one point to go into partnership with Rutter in releasing some images. She said he turned her down.
She said that Rutter told her the buyers were "going to use this against you." When he would not identify the purported buyers, Diaz contacted authorities.
Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor revoked Rutter's bail and ordered him to jail, ruling the photographer was a flight risk. Sentencing was set for Sept. 15.
Diaz was not in court for Monday's verdict.
Rutter, 42, had no comment. Defense attorney Mark Werksman said his client was devastated. "This is about the blackest day in John Rutter's life," Werksman said. "This was an epic battle between a rich and famous celebrity and a hardworking photographer."
Rutter was convicted of attempted theft for the alleged blackmail scheme, forgery for Diaz's apparent signature on a release form and perjury for declaring in a separate civil case that the signature was authentic. That civil case is pending.
The judge also told lawyers to discuss restitution for Diaz.
Diaz was 19 when the photos were taken in 1992. She posed in leather boots and fishnet stockings in a warehouse for the shoot and at one point held a chain attached to a male model's neck.
Rutter had testified that he did not realize the signature on the release form was forged.