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Woman Pleads No Contest to Stalking Catherine Zeta-Jones

Associated Press
Saturday, February 26, 2005; 4:00 AM

LOS ANGELES -- A woman pleaded no contest Friday to stalking and threatening actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Dawnette Knight, 33, entered the plea to one felony count of stalking and three felony counts of making criminal threats. She could face up to five years in prison.

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Knight was accused of sending threatening and violent letters to acquaintances of the actress, including her agent and her husband, actor Michael Douglas.

One letter said: "We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs."

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 also was accused of making four threatening telephone calls to the actress.

Knight's attorney, Richard P. Herman, could not immediately be reached for comment. He has the flu and left for home immediately after court, his office said.

Zeta-Jones' publicist, Cece Yorke, also had no immediate comment.

At Knight's preliminary hearing last year, Zeta-Jones testified that her security was increased dramatically after she learned of the letters.

The actress also said she had a severe anxiety attack after two violent phone calls were made to her hotel in Amsterdam, where she was filming "Ocean's 12."

"I remember at that moment I began to shake and sweat. As the day went on it got progressively worse," she said. "This has affected me and it will affect me the rest of my life."

Judge David Mintz ordered Knight to be evaluated for 90 days by the state Department of Corrections to determine if she is suitable for probation or should go to prison.

The judge also said he planned to issue a protective order that would forbid Knight from coming near Zeta-Jones for up to 10 years.

Knight was originally charged with stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats between Oct. 2, 2003, and May 21, 2004. Twenty-one of those counts were dismissed.


© 2005 The Associated Press