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Hey, pal, blackmail is illegal – get the picture?

The Spokesman-Review

A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO took topless pictures of a young Cameron Diaz and later tried to sell them back to her was convicted of forgery, attempted grand theft and perjury Monday.

John Rutter, 42, faces up to six years in prison. Sentencing was set for Sept. 15.

Diaz was a 19-year-old aspiring model when the pictures were taken in 1992. Rutter offered to sell them to her for $3.5 million shortly before the 2003 release of “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”

He told the jury he was simply giving her “right of first refusal” before offering the photos to other buyers worldwide.

Diaz testified that Rutter told her the buyers were “going to use this against you” by portraying her as a “bad angel.”

When he wouldn’t identify the buyers, she suspected blackmail and contacted authorities, who arranged a sting operation.

Rutter also told jurors he thought Diaz had signed a release form around the time of the shoot giving him ownership of the photos and didn’t realize the form had been forged.

According to Beatte, there’s no kiss to tell

The model at the center of Roman Polanski‘s successful libel suit against Vanity Fair says the filmmaker never tried to seduce her.

Polanski on Friday was awarded $87,000 in his suit over an article accusing him of propositioning Beatte Telle in a New York restaurant on the way to the funeral of his wife, Sharon Tate, who was killed by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.

“He never spoke to me at all,” says Telle, who was not called to testify at the trial. “He just stared at me for ages. … Perhaps I reminded him of Sharon Tate.”

With friends like these …

One of Jennifer Aniston‘s former flings as a teen is auctioning off memorabilia from the “Friends” star.

Michael Baroni, who claims he had a summer romance with Aniston in 1984, is selling keepsakes such as a makeshift birthday card she wrote on a piece of toilet paper. The auction begins Friday on eBay.

“I think the materials show an innocent look into someone I think is very endearing,” says Baroni, who’s auctioning the items for “financial reasons.”

Va-va-voom, VMA

Punk rockers Green Day led all musical acts with eight nominations Monday for this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, followed by Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliott with six each and U2 with five.

Rap mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who will host the Aug. 28 awards ceremony from steamy Miami, promised more of the racy stunts for which the show has become known: “I’m going to tell the artists that if you want to get naked and run across the stage, go ahead and do it.”

C’mon, Ricky, shake them gone-gone

On his first visit to the Middle East, Latin singer Ricky Martin promised to try to change negative perceptions of Arab youth in the West.

At a youth conference in Amman, Jordan, teens expressed concern about being labeled “terrorists.”

“I come from Latin America and to some countries, we are considered ‘losers,’ drug traffickers, and that is not fair because that is generalizing,” said Martin, a United Nations Children’s Fund goodwill ambassador.

“I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes.”

The birthday bunch

Movie director Blake Edwards is 83. Singer Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) is 62. Actress Susan George is 55. Actor Kevin Spacey is 46. Singer Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen) is 44. Actress Sandra Bullock is 41. Actor Jeremy Piven is 40. Actress Kate Beckinsale is 32.

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