Accused Tyra Banks stalker on trial in New York

Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:39pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The man charged with stalking television host Tyra Banks went on trial on Friday, with prosecutors saying he terrified the former supermodel by sending her packages and threatening her assistant.

Brady Green, 39, was arrested last March after he appeared twice at the Manhattan studio where "The Tyra Banks Show," a popular daytime talk show, is filmed.

Green repeatedly contacted the show, sent Banks flowers with the note "When I see you, I love you," and threatened to slit the throat of her assistant, causing Banks to "fear for her physical health and safety," prosecutor Shawn McMahon said in opening arguments in New York State Supreme Court.

"His actions made him a stalker -- not a fan, but a stalker," McMahon said.

But Green's defense attorney, Sydney O'Hagen, portrayed Green as a harmless fan and said Banks courted admirers by giving them multiple ways of reaching out to her and cultivating an image of approachability.

"She invites fans who are inspired by her shows to reach out to her," O'Hagen said. "She repeatedly presented herself as someone her fans can relate to."

Green was "an inspired fan, not a deranged fan, not a stalker," O'Hagen said, adding that her client only wanted to attend a taping of the show and perhaps meet Banks.

Green has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor stalking and harassment charges. He faces a maximum of 90 days in jail if convicted in the trial, which resumes in Manhattan on April 27. Banks, who also hosts "America's Next Top Model," is expected to be called as a witness.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Paul Simao)

 
<p>Actress and model Tyra Banks arrives at the Glamour Women of the Year award ceremony in New York November 10, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>