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March 7, 2003

Catherine, Michael's Legal Case Rated X

STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN and SARA HAMMEL

Some X-rated photos were held up for discussion in London's High Court Friday, as both the prosecution and the defense summed up their sides in Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas's breach-of-privacy case against Britain's Hello! magazine, reports PEOPLE.

Douglas attorney Michael Tugendhat objected to the defense's claim that the couple consented to have their pictures published in a porn magazine -- given that their wedding shots were syndicated to a Danish magazine featuring a bare-breasted woman on its cover and some adult images inside.

Tugendhat said that media reports (especially in British tabloids) that the Douglases had consented to those photos being in such a magazine were "misrepresented on a grand scale."

The judge, Justice Lindsay, seemed to agree. "They looked fairly innocuous to me," he said of the offending photos. "It's naked people, but they're not doing anything extraordinary. Or even ordinary. Perhaps I'm a tough old boot."

Zeta-Jones, 33, and Douglas, 58, are suing Hello! after the magazine scooped its rival OK! by publishing photos of the couple's splashy 2000 New York wedding. (OK! had paid the Douglases $1.6 million for the exclusive photo rights.) The stars claim their privacy was invaded.

In the prosecution's closing statement, Tugendhat said the couple had a right to decide when and to whom the photos would be given. Even though Zeta-Jones offered the public "a slice" of her wedding, she didn't necessarily have to offer them "the whole cake," he said.

Also, responding to earlier defense claims that the Douglases were simply trying to make money from their wedding rather than to keep it private, Tugendhat said in his written closing statement, "The purpose was both to protect their own privacy and to further the distribution of some information about the event."

The case is expected to continue into next week.
 





Returns to the London stage to star in Dance of Death.

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