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Spielberg recounts fears, anguish over alleged stalker

Jonathan Norman
Jonathan Norman   
February 26, 1998
Web posted at: 3:37 a.m. EST (0837 GMT)
In This Story:

SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg on Wednesday testified that he remains deeply "frightened" of the man accused of stalking him, saying that "no one before has ever come into my life in a way to do me harm."

"I think he's on a mission and he won't be satisfied until he accomplishes the mission, and I think I am the subject of the mission," Spielberg said at the trial of Jonathan Norman, who is accused of stalking the film director.

Rhonda Saunders
Rhonda Saunders   

Norman, 31, was arrested in July at Spielberg's Pacific Palisades mansion and is charged with one count of felony stalking.

Police have testified that Norman was carrying handcuffs, duct tape and a box cutter at the time of his arrest. They said his car contained two more sets of handcuffs, razor blades -- items prosecutor Rhonda Saunders called a "rape kit." Authorities also found a notebook stuffed with photos of Spielberg, his wife, actress Kate Capshaw and their seven children.

A police detective testified on Tuesday that Norman told him he was obsessed with Spielberg and wanted to rape him.

Another police officer told the court that he had found a "shopping list" of sadomasochistic sex aids among the man's belongings.

Feeling like 'prey'

Steven Spielberg   

Spielberg, who appeared somber and at times nervous during the testimony, said that while he still feels a threat from Norman, he decided to appear before Norman in court because Spielberg wants to protect his family.

"I didn't want this individual to put me or my family through the anguish, the nightmares I've had because of this," said Spielberg, who was not in court the other days of the trial, which began last week.

"I've had fans and I've had people who've been a little pushy before, but not people with handcuffs and duct tape and knives and maps to my home," he said. "I feel to this day that I am prey to this individual."

Spielberg described how he felt when he first heard the news about the arrest in a phone call from his Los Angeles lawyer last summer while on location in Ireland making "Saving Private Ryan."

"I reacted to the information at first with disbelief, then I became quite frightened. I was very upset," Spielberg said.

When asked his reaction to the defendant's comments to police in which he acknowledged a sexual attraction for the director, Spielberg said: "The statement frightened me - the individual had said his goal was to rape me."

Increases security on movie sets, at home

gate at Spielberg's home
The gate at Spielberg's home   

During his 90-minute testimony, Spielberg said he had increased security on his movie sets and at his home.

Spielberg was shown several pieces of paper containing Norman's writings. He identified at least 24 names of friends and business associates on them, including David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, his partners in the DreamWorks studio.

The director was briefly cross-examined by the defense about his daily routines and security measures, and he also said he never personally received any letters or phone calls from Norman.

Spielberg did not make eye contact with Norman during the proceedings.

But during one brief break while lawyers and the judge conferred, Spielberg glanced at Norman, but the man never caught the director's eye. But Norman appeared to smirk as the director entered the courtroom by a rear door and glanced occasionally at Spielberg during his testimony.

Norman has two prior felony convictions, under California's three strikes law, he could face a sentence of 25 years to life if found guilty in this case.

Spielberg is the director of some of Hollywood's biggest films, such as "Jaws," "E.T. the Extra Terrestial," "Jurassic Park," and "Schindler's List."

Correspondent Sherri Sylvester and Reuters contributed to this report.


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