November 4, 2008 / 1:38 AM / 10 years ago

Surfers plead innocent over paparazzi brawl

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two surfers pleaded innocent on Monday to charges they attacked a paparazzo taking pictures of actor Matthew McConaughey on a beach.

Cast member Matthew McConaughey poses at the premiere of "Tropic Thunder" at the Mann's Village theatre in Westwood, California August 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Philip Hildebrand, 30, and Skylar Peak, 24, are charged with misdemeanor battery for a June 21 clash that pitted surfers against paparazzi in Malibu, the posh seaside community outside Los Angeles.

The two surfers are accused of attacking Richid Altmbareckouhammou, a photographer who was among a group of paparazzi on the beach to shoot candid photos of McConaughey as he surfed. The actor, whose film work includes “Fool’s Gold,” “Failure to Launch,” and the upcoming “Surfer, Dude,” is a favorite target of paparazzi.

The brawl sparked numerous headlines in celebrity magazines and on the Internet and it was a key event leading Los Angeles officials recently to call for ways to restrain celebrity photographers.

Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has said he has the authority to handle the celebrity photographers under current laws.

A judge set a January 14 hearing for Hildebrand and Peak.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Bill Trott

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