LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Keanu Reeves told a Los Angeles court on Tuesday that he did not knock down a paparazzo photographer to avoid having his picture taken, saying the man stumbled while walking backward.
The "Matrix" actor testified for about an hour in the civil lawsuit brought against him by the photographer, who claimed he had lost earnings because of injuries to his wrist in the March 2007 incident.
The civil trial follows a series of clashes in Los Angeles this past year between paparazzi and celebrities including rap star Kanye West, "300" star Gerard Butler and actors Matthew McConaughey and Pierce Brosnan.
Tensions have run so high that some Los Angeles city officials have considered new laws including a "personal safety zone" between celebrities and paparazzi.
Reeves, 44, was pulling away from the curb in his Porsche outside a private home in the affluent Ranchos Palos Verdes area when "in a sudden, erratic and dangerous manner, (he) drove forward and struck" photographer Alison Silva, according to the photographer's lawsuit.
Silva said Reeves had been visiting his sister, who had an eating disorder.
But Reeves said he was certain that the only time his car made contact with Silva was when the paparazzo bent over and put his hand on the hood of his car. He then began stepping backward and fell.
Silva is expected to testify later on Tuesday.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Walsh