Cameron Diaz photog is arrested on extortion charges. He's accused of trying to extort $3.3 million from the actress to suppress decade-old photos

By Gary Susman
August 14, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Cameron Diaz: ranziska Krug/Action Press/ZUMA Press/NewsCom

John Rutter, the photographer who shot those now-suppressed ”private” modeling photos of Cameron Diaz before she was famous, was arrested Wednesday and charged with trying to extort $3.3 million from the ”Charlie’s Angels” star over the disputed pics. According to wire service reports, he was arrested at his home in Venice, Calif., and charged with attempted extortion, attempted grand theft, perjury, and two counts of forgery.

Rutter had recently tried to sell the star the photos, which he shot at what her spokesperson called ”a private modeling session” a decade ago, when she was 21, before she found fame in 1994’s ”The Mask.” He told reporters he was just offering her a first-refusal option, but her camp accused him of trying to extort money from her to keep the photos out of circulation, and of forging her signature on the photo release form. On June 30, Los Angeles police raided his apartment in response to Diaz’s complaint. Meanwhile, her suit against Rutter went ahead, and she got a Los Angeles Superior Court judge last week to seal the photos and a videotape, at least until the next hearing in the lawsuit, scheduled for Sept. 12.

Rutter was jailed in Los Angeles in lieu of $250,000 bail. He faces up to six years in prison if he’s convicted, the district attorney’s office says. He’s due to be arraigned on Thursday.