July 25, 2005 04:00 PM

The photographer who took pictures of a topless Cameron Diaz nearly 15 years ago and then tried to sell them back to her has been found guilty of forgery, attempted grand theft and perjury.

John Rutter, 42, who photographed a 19-year-old Diaz in 1992, long before the actress had become a household name in films such as There’s Something About Mary and Charlie’s Angels, faces up to six years in prison. Diaz, then an aspiring model, posed in leather boots and fishnet stockings.

“Although I wish that this unfortunate situation hadn’t occurred in the first place, I am very gratified that justice has been served,” Diaz said in a statement. At the time the photos were snapped, she was an aspiring model, and posed in leather boots and fishnet stockings.

In 2003, Rutter contacted Diaz and demanded $3.5 million for the images, or else he would sell them to other buyers who would publish them in concordance with the release of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Diaz testified that Rutter told her the buyers were “going to use this against you” in a magazine spread and bus and billboard ads. Diaz then contacted authorities who set up a sting operation and arrested Rutter.

In court, Rutter said he did not forge a model release form, but when cross-examined he admitted to lying to Diaz and in court papers. He was convicted of forgery for faking Diaz’s signature on the form, and perjury for lying in a sworn declaration that her signature was authentic.

Diaz has said she is not ashamed of the photos, some of which feature her holding a chain attached to a male model’s neck.

Rutter, who was free on $250,000 bond during the trial, was taken into custody after the verdict. He will be sentenced on Sept. 15.

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