Court Awards Fergie and Friend Damages for Topless Photos
NANTERRE, France (AP) _ A court ruled today that photographs taken of the Duchess of York smooching topless with a male friend on the Riviera last summer violated their privacy and ordered that they be paid $132,000 in damages.
The sum was far less than the nearly $4 million that the duchess, estranged wife of Britain’s Prince Andrew, had sought in her lawsuit.
The photographer, Daniel Angeli, and his agency, Cogedipresse, will each have to pay $47,000 to the duchess and $18,800 to her friend, businessman John Bryan of Texas.
The court in this Paris suburb ruled that Angeli violated France’s privacy laws by taking and selling the photos. Under the law, it is an offense to publish ″a picture of a person in a private place without their consent.″
Angeli’s lawyers had argued that there was no firm proof of who took the photographs.
The suit centered on a set of photographs showing the duchess sunbathing and embracing the 37-year-old bachelor at the poolside of a rented villa in St. Tropez. The two daughters of the duchess and Prince Andrew were with them.
While the judgment was far less than what the duchess sought, her lawyer, Alistair Pepper, said the award was ″in line with our expectations.″
The money awarded by the court will be given to the British Institute for Brain-Injured Children and the duchess’s favorite cause, the Motor Neuron Disease Association, Pepper said.