Two Malibu men charged with attacking paparazzo

Tue Sep 2, 2008 9:38pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Officials on Tuesday said they charged two Malibu men for attacking a paparazzo who was snapping pictures of actor Matthew McConaughey as he was surfing in the Pacific Ocean in June.

The attack on the photographer made headlines around the world and sparked calls by Los Angeles-area politicians for more controls over aggressive paparazzi.

Skylar Martin Peak, 24, and Philip John Hildebrand, 30, both of Malibu, were each charged with one misdemeanor count of battery for attacking Richid Altmbareckouhammou, who was working for a French news agency, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office said.

Officials claim the two men threw Altmbareckouhammou into the water from where he was taking pictures on the beach. Each faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The incident occurred while McConaughey was surfing near a cove in Malibu. About a dozen paparazzi were on the beach taking pictures of the actor, whose film work includes "Fool's Gold," "Failure to Launch," and the upcoming "Surfer, Dude."

The incident caused several local politicians to look for ways to curb the activities of the paparazzi. In late July, Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine held a hearing to consider ideas such as licensing paparazzi and creating personal safety zones around celebrities.