October 05, 2004 09:30 AM

The TV cameras can roll during the pre-trial hearing of Catherine Zeta-Jones’s alleged stalker, Los Angeles County Judge David Mintz has decided.

The only time a blackout will be in effect, Mintz ruled, will be during witness testimony, reports the Associated Press. The judge has not yet determined if cameras will be allowed during the trial itself, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 13.

Attorneys for the Chicago Oscar winner, 34, filed a 104-page motion asking the court to bar cameras because they believe media coverage would taint the jury pool and encourage similar behavior.

Dawnette Knight, 33, who is being held on $1 million bail, has pleaded not guilty to one count of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats for allegedly sending violent letters to Zeta-Jones’s husband, Michael Douglas. If convicted, she could face up to 19 years in prison.

One letter, entered earlier into testimony, read: “We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs.” Prosecutors claim Knight sent 19 similar letters and made phone threats to the actress while she was filming Ocean’s 12 in Amsterdam.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has filed a motion asking to bar cameras from the trial because some witnesses are undercover detectives. Mintz did not rule on that request Monday.

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