Campbell’s ex-agent: model flirted with Taylor
LEIDSCHENDAM, NETHERLANDS (AP) - Naomi Campbell’s former business agent has told a war crimes court the fashion model flirted with former Liberian President Charles Taylor at a 1997 dinner and he arranged to send her a gift of uncut diamonds.
Campbell downplayed her contact with Taylor, saying she received an unexpected gift of “dirty looking” pebbles the night after the dinner. She told judges Friday she did not initially realize they were diamonds or who sent them.
Taylor says he’s innocent of war crimes.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Mia Farrow testified Monday that model Naomi Campbell told her she had been sent a “huge diamond” by former Liberian President Charles Taylor, directly contradicting Campbell’s evidence last week at Taylor’s war crimes trial.
The prosecution called the American actress Farrow and Carole White, Campbell’s former agent, to testify about a gift of uncut diamonds that Taylor allegedly gave the model after a September 1997 party they all attended hosted by then-South African President Nelson Mandela.
Campbell, who had fought appearing before the war crimes court for months, testified reluctantly under subpoena Thursday that she was given several small stones by unknown men after the dinner in Pretoria. The British model said she hadn’t known they were diamonds nor who had sent them, and suggested that Farrow or White had commented at breakfast the next morning that they were probably diamonds from Taylor.
The prosecution claims Taylor traded guns to rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in exchange for uncut diamonds during Sierra Leone’s 1992-2002 civil war, which left more than 100,000 dead in the West African nation.
Taylor has denied any involvement with the trade in illicit gems known as blood diamonds _ stones used to fuel wars.
Farrow testified that Campbell had told other guests over breakfast in 1997 she had received a “huge diamond” from Taylor. She said Campbell said she planned to give it to charity _ the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
“She said that in the night she had been awakened, some men were knocking at the door, and they had been sent by Charles Taylor, and they had given her a huge diamond,” Farrow told the court. She added that Campbell seemed “excited, happy” at the gift.
But under lengthy cross examination, Farrow, 65, conceded she had never seen the diamond or diamonds herself.
Confronted with Campbell’s testimony that the gift was three small rough diamonds that looked like pebbles and not one “huge’ polished diamond, Farrow stuck by her story, saying “I can only tell you what Naomi Campbell said.”