Tom Cruise gets restraining order against man

Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:55pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge has granted Tom Cruise a restraining order against an Iraq war veteran who brandished a gun near a freeway and later tried to hand-deliver a letter to the actor, an attorney said on Thursday.

Edward Van Tassel, 29, wanted to get the letter in Cruise's hands to enlist him in the cause of helping other veterans, said the former soldier's attorney, Robert Landheer.

Van Tassel went to Cruise's Beverly Hills mansion on December 3 and again on Sunday in an attempt to deliver the letter, Landheer said.

On Wednesday, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge George Eskin issued the restraining order to prevent Van Tassel from approaching Cruise or his residential property.

"He's coming home like hundreds of other veterans, wounded and suffering from whatever kind of scarring that is," Landheer said.

A representative for Cruise was not immediately available to comment.

Authorities arrested Van Tassel last month on weapons charges after an incident near Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles, in which he stood on a freeway overpass with a gun and a sign in what his attorney described as a protest.

Following the arrest, he was sent to a veterans' hospital in Los Angeles, but left the facility when he tried to deliver the letter to Cruise.

Van Tassel has been sent back to the hospital where he is receiving psychiatric care and is no longer permitted to leave the facility, Landheer said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Peter Cooney)

<p>Actor Tom Cruise speaks as he is being interviewed while promoting the movie "Valkyrie" at the MuchMusic television station in Toronto, December 8, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>