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Friday, 17 November 2006

Campbell 'violent super bigot'

ampbell 'violent super bigot'

British supermodel Naomi Campbell appeared in court in New York yesterday on assault charges over an incident earlier this year in which she allegedly threw a mobile phone at her housekeeper.

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The case was immediately adjourned at the prosecution's request, giving both sides more time to pursue a possible plea deal. Judge Evelyn Laporte set the next hearing for January 16.

A New York state prosecutor told the hearing that a deal could be close.

"We are still in the process of working out a possible disposition," Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain told Judge Evelyn Laporte of the Manhattan Criminal Court.

But Campbell's lawyer, David Breitbart, is not so sure.

"This case is not ready to be disposed of," he said after the brief hearing. "There's concerns on all sides," he added.

Campbell, wearing a slate grey dress with black jacket and tall stilettos, smiled as she left the courtroom surrounded by bodyguards and a bevy of friends, supporters and reporters.

She didn't address the court, conferring only with her lawyer, and left the courthouse without commenting.

"I personally hope we go to trial. At the end of a trial, as far as I'm concerned, is total vindication," Breitbart said, while refusing to rule out the possibility of a plea bargain involving community service.

"If there's something palatable, we'll talk about it," he said.

Campbell, 36, was arrested by New York police in March after her maid, Ana Scolavino, alleged the supermodel had thrown a mobile phone at her head and accused her of stealing a pair of jeans.

The wound required several stitches.

Campbell failed to show up at her last scheduled court appearance in September. Breitbart said the model was not feeling well.

She pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing in June, when the judge granted both sides more time to reach a deal or, failing agreement, allow for the convening of a grand jury to determine the final charges.

If the case goes to trial, the British supermodel faces a possible seven-year jail term on the current charge of second-degree assault.

Another former employee, Gaby Gibson, filed a separate lawsuit on Tuesday, accusing Campbell of discrimination and assault.

According to US press reports, the suit accuses Campbell of being "nothing more than a `violent super-bigot'," with "discriminatory tendencies."

Breitbart said he had not yet been given a copy of the complaint but said he was "frustrated that a lawyer would use terms like that," saying the case was only designed to embarrass Campbell on the eve of her court appearance.

Gibson alleges that Campbell poked fun at her broken English and yelled at Gibson because of her Romanian heritage, saying, 'You are not in the Third World any more, stupid."

Campbell was arrested in London last month over further assault allegations.

The Sun tabloid reported the catwalk star was arrested for allegedly scratching her drugs counselor in her face, citing an unnamed source.

In 2000, she pleaded guilty in a Canadian court to assaulting another assistant, Georgina Galanis, while shooting a movie two years earlier.

Galanis had accused the model of grabbing her by the throat and hitting her on the head, also with a telephone.

Campbell shot to fame after being scouted by the Elite modelling agency in London when she was just 15. She was the first black model to appear on the covers of Time magazine and the French and British editions of Vogue.

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