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Posted on Tue, Jun. 29, 2004

Alleged stalker of Catherine Zeta-Jones issues apology letter

Associated Press

A woman who has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has written a letter of apology, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Dawnette Knight, 32, in an undated letter addressed to the actress and her father-in-law, Kirk Douglas, said she wants "to apologize for any distress I have caused you and your families."

Knight, who is being held on $1 million bail, said she would "have never done anyone any harm and would never harm anyone," but also acknowledged an infatuation with Zeta-Jones' actor husband.

"I was a confused young woman infatuated with Michael Douglas and have not rational explanations for my actions," her letter said. Knight asked for forgiveness so that she can return to college and finish her studies in child psychology.

Zeta-Jones' staff notified the Sheriff's department around February that the 34-year-old, Oscar-winning star of "Chicago" was receiving threatening letters, sherrif's officials have said.

Investigators said they were able to trace several letters and phone calls back to Knight, including one to Austria where Zeta-Jones was filming "Ocean's Twelve."

The letters and phone calls had become increasingly violent and specific, said sheriff's Lt. Joe Impellizeri. He said Knight was given a high bail because she was considered a flight risk.

Knight was arrested June 3 at her Beverly Hills apartment and charged with one count of stalking and 24 counts of criminal threats, officials said.

If convicted, she could face anywhere from probation to 19 years in prison. Knight was scheduled to return to court June 29 for a preliminary hearing.

A telephone call to Zeta-Jones' publicist after business hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Knight's lawyer, Richard Herman, gave reporters copies of the letter. He said his client got "confused and thought she was doing something as a prank, and it got taken much too seriously because that's the age we live in."

Herman said that he hopes Knight will receive counseling and be able to put the matter behind her.

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