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Alameda County

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Posted on Mon, Oct. 04, 2004

Cameras allowed in Zeta-Jones stalker case for pretrial hearings

Associated Press

A judge agreed Monday that pretrial hearings for a woman accused of stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones could be televised - except when the proceedings involve witness testimony.

Attorneys for Zeta-Jones filed a 104-page motion asking the court to bar cameras because they believe media coverage would taint the jury pool and encourage copycat crimes.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department filed a motion asking Judge David Mintz to bar cameras from the trial itself, which is scheduled to start Nov. 10, because some witnesses are undercover detectives. Mintz did not rule on that request Monday.

Dawnette Knight, 33, is charged with one count of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats for allegedly sending threatening and violent letters to actor Michael Douglas, Zeta-Jones' husband. One letter reads: "We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs."

Prosecutors claim she sent 19 letters threatening and made violent phone calls to the actress while she was filming "Ocean's Twelve" in Amsterdam. Some letters mentioned the violent deaths of President Kennedy and Nicole Brown Simpson.

Knight, who was arrested June 3 at her Beverly Hills home, allegedly apologized in another letter, claiming she had been in love with Douglas.

Knight, who appeared in court wearing a black suit, is being held on $1 million bail.

On Monday, Mintz also postponed a bail review hearing until Oct. 13. Defense attorney Richard Herman said a psychiatrist and a private investigator were unavailable to testify Monday on that issue.

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