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Press Association
Tue 27 Jul 2004
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4:59pm (UK)
Zeta-Jones to Face 'Stalker'

By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York

Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is due to come face-to-face in court tomorrow with a woman accused of stalking and threatening to kill her.

Zeta-Jones will appear as a witness in the case of Dawnette Knight, an unemployed woman accused of 26 stalking offences against the actress from Swansea.

A court in Los Angeles heard yesterday that Knight, 32, allegedly made the threats in letters to the Chicago star’s father-in-law, film legend Kirk Douglas.

Detective Teresa Garrett told Los Angeles Superior Court that an “obituary style” letter was sent to Kirk Douglas, father of Zeta-Jones’s husband Michael.

Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are expected to take the stand as a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to order Knight to stand trial.

Detective Garrett told the court that as the letters grew “more and more threatening”, Zeta-Jones became “very upset” and “at a loss for words”.

“She was very afraid for herself and her family,” the officer said.

Police also said two death threats against Zeta-Jones were phoned to a hotel in Bermuda, where Michael Douglas had a financial interest.

The first call came on March 18 from a woman who said to tell Douglas “we are going to kill his wife, kill that bitch”.

Knight has already apologised for sending letters to the Douglases.

In a letter sent last month, she said she was a “confused young woman”, obsessed with Michael Douglas.

Knight, who was arrested on June 3, is in custody on bail of £600,000.

Her lawyer, Richard Herman, said outside court yesterday that Knight had a “girlish crush on Michael Douglas” and sent him a note telling him she would show him “a good time”.

But he was “not convinced my client wrote all the letters”.

“We haven’t gotten the sum of the language in the letters, which no heterosexual woman would ever have written,” he said.

“So I’m not convinced that my client was the one behind the awful things that are in those letters.”

Knight’s fiance, Ronald Calvin, called her a “God-fearing woman”, adding that she was “extremely terrified by what’s happening to her”.

He said she had “every intention of pursuing her career as a child psychologist and loving wife to myself and, hopefully, the mother of my children”.

If convicted, Knight would face a maximum of 19 years in jail.

According to court documents, Knight allegedly carried out the crimes between January 2003 and May 2004.

The criminal complaint said Knight was charged with making threats against Zeta-Jones “with the intent that she be placed in reasonable fear for her safety and the safety of her immediate family“.

Knight’s lawyer said prosecutors were treating the case differently because it involved a celebrity.

But a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office said: “We’re not beholden to anyone. We felt that the evidence was there and we filed a case.”

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