Photographer offered Diaz pics for $5 million, witness testifies

Los Angeles -- A photographer accused of trying to extort $3.3 million from actress Cameron Diaz for photos taken before she was famous threatened to sell them to a European group for $5 million, an investigator testified Tuesday.

Detective Brian Bennett, an investigator in the District Attorney's Office, said during a preliminary hearing for John Rutter that the "majority" of the 20 photos depicted Diaz topless.

Bennett testified that Diaz, 31, told him she feared the photos would "hamper her ability to land certain family movie roles," including a role in an upcoming "Shrek" sequel.

Rutter, 41, has been charged with one count of attempted extortion, attempted grand theft, perjury and forgery. He was released from custody after posting $250,000 bail.

Oprah's good deeds draw award

Philadelphia -- Oprah Winfrey has received the Marian Anderson Award for her efforts helping minority students and families.

The award honoring artists and performers for their humanitarian efforts was presented Tuesday by Mayor John Street and musician Quincy Jones, a 2001 winner. Winfrey, 49, said she hoped to "light up the world."

Winfrey said she stood on the shoulders of people such as Anderson, an opera singer from Philadelphia who fought discrimination to become the first black singer to perform with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

'Potter' sales top quarter billion

London -- The five books in the "Harry Potter" series have collectively sold a quarter of a billion copies, author J.K. Rowling's agent said.

Rowling's stories chronicling the adventures of a boy wizard have been translated into 60 languages and sold around the world. She's working on the sixth installment and plans seven in all.

"We are delighted J.K. Rowling's books continue to win new fans internationally and look forward to introducing Harry Potter to yet more readers in the farthest parts of the globe," her agent, Christopher Little, said.

City asked to buy Carson home

Norfolk, Neb. -- Owners of Johnny Carson's boyhood home are asking the city of Norfolk to buy it.

Jim Pruett of Brandon, S.D., said he and partner Rick Runge of Sioux Falls, S.D., were trying "to do a nice thing" when they bought the two-story, off-white house last spring. They remodeled it, and hoped to sell it for a profit.

"(But) we stand to lose a bunch of money," he said. "I failed with it." It had been reported earlier that the two men had paid $150,000 for the house in March.

Pruett said he and Runge had spent about $171,000 on remodeling and were willing to sell the house for $119,000. It has been listed on Internet auction site eBay and with a local real estate company.


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