October 28, 2008

Civil trial of Keanu Reeves begins over paparazzi incident

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A civil trial on allegations actor Keanu Reeves tried to run over a celebrity news photographer with his Porsche 911 has got under way, with opening arguments heard by the jury.

The plaintiff's lawyer Joseph Farzam said on Monday his paparazzi client Alison Silva fell to the ground and hurt his hand when Reeves drove his car into him on March 19, 2007. He claimed 40,000 dollars in medical expenses for the injury.

Reeve's lawyer Alfred Gerisch, in turn, said Silva was three meters (yards) from the actor's car during the alleged incident in a posh neighborhood in southwest Los Angeles. He accused the photographer of aggressive behavior.

The star of "Matrix" and "Speed" is expected to take the stand on Tuesday.

In September, a Los Angeles judge dismissed assault claims filed against Reeves by Silva, saying there was no evidence to support the allegations, ruling out a criminal trial.

The judge said Silva had fallen when he tripped over his own feet and that Reeves himself appeared to have been the victim of an assault by Silva when the photographer put his hands on the actor's car.

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