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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 July, 2004, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Zeta blamed for 'suicide attempt'
Dawnette Knight
Knight's lawyer said she had been "driven" to attempt suicide
The lawyer for the woman accused of making death threats against Catherine Zeta Jones has blamed the actress for his client's alleged suicide attempt.

Attorney Richard Herman said Dawnette Knight, 32, had tried to kill herself with barbiturates while in prison.

He said his client had been driven to it by a "campaign of vilification" in the media and by Zeta Jones herself. "The real blood is on her hands," he added.

Ms Knight has been ordered to undergo a psychological examination.

Her lawyer had previously said Ms Knight had taken sleeping pills because "she just wanted a good night's sleep".

Catherine Zeta-Jones has driven Dawnette Knight to attempt suicide and the real blood is on her hands
Richard Herman
Friday's hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court was postponed after Herman said she was too drowsy to follow proceedings and could not attend.

Prosecutor Debra Archuleta has reacted angrily to the defence team's allegations.

"We are shocked and outraged that the victim in this case, Catherine Zeta Jones, is being portrayed in this manner," she said in a statement.

"We believe these statements by defence counsel to be inappropriate."

A publicist for Zeta Jones said the actress had no comment.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones read from some of the threatening letters on Wednesday
Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg suspended the preliminary hearing and ordered an evaluation to determine whether Ms Knight is competent to assist in her own defence.

She said if Ms Knight is found competent the parties will return to court on 16 August, but the hearing itself would not resume until September due to holidays.

Ms Knight has pleaded not guilty to 25 counts of making criminal threats and stalking. The hearing aims to determine whether she will face trial.

Zeta Jones testified against Ms Knight on Wednesday, reading extracts from 19 threatening letters to the court.

"We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs," said one letter read in court by the actress.





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Zeta 'stalker' is held in custody
17 Jun 04  |  Americas


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