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Posted on Fri, Jul. 30, 2004

Accused Zeta-Jones Stalker to Be Evaluated




Associated Press

A judge Friday suspended the preliminary hearing for a woman accused of stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in order to have a psychological evaluation of the defendant.

Richard Herman, Dawnette Knight's lawyer, claimed outside court that the actress had driven his client to attempt suicide.

"The real blood is on her hands," Herman said.

Judge Patricia Schnegg agreed to Herman's request for the evaluation. If Knight is found competent, the hearing would resume Aug. 16.

Knight, who allegedly wrote numerous letters threatening Zeta-Jones, is accused of one felony count of stalking and 24 felony counts of making criminal threats; she's being held on $1 million bail. Knight issued an apology for the letters last month, claiming she had been infatuated with Douglas.

The hearing also was halted Thursday, when Herman said Knight was still groggy after taking sleeping pills because she wanted a good night's sleep. On Friday, however, Herman said it was an attempted suicide by an overdose of barbiturates.

"This case has turned into Hollywood against Dawnette Knight and it's not a fair fight," he said outside court.

Referring to the letter of apology, Herman said his client had asked for forgiveness. "Instead of forgiveness we have seen a campaign of vilification in the media which is both mean-spirited and vicious," he said.

The preliminary hearing is a proceeding to determine whether there is enough evidence to put Knight on trial. Zeta-Jones and her husband, fellow Oscar winner Michael Douglas, testified in the hearing earlier this week.


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