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CASTING CORNER
 
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Douglas Testifies to Death Threats

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas were in a Los Angeles court Wednesday, set to face off against the woman who allegedly threatened to kill the Oscar-winning Welsh beauty.

Douglas arrived under heavy security and took the stand Wednesday morning, testifying about the death threats that 31-year-old Dawnette Knight allegedly made against his wife.

The threats were filed in a court brief this morning, and some were so graphic we can't even fully quote them. One included the line, "Shred her to pieces like Sharon Tate." Another read, "Slash her throat like OJ." And the most terrifying verse said, "When we finish with this (expletive), she will not be this pretty-faced actress. You won't be able to recognize her in her casket."

Outside the courthouse, Knight's fiancÚ, Ronald Calvin, spoke for her, saying, "It was a stupid prank that got out of hand and it will never happen again. She's sorry. How many times can we say she screwed up and it will never happen again?"

But it was no prank to the Hollywood couple. Detectives said Zeta-Jones was terrified and at a loss for words over the grizzly threats.

Deputy District Attorney Rhonda Saunders, who handled Madonna's stalking case in the mid 90's, said that putting a celebrity on the stand is often what the stalker wants. "Stalking is a crime of mental terrorism," she insisted. "In a way, it gives the stalker what they want. But on the other hand, if the celebrities don't come forward and take action, the stalkers are not going to go away, they're not going to stop."

Douglas and Zeta-Jones are taking the stand in this case for that very reason. The preliminary hearing is expected to continue through the week -- stay tuned to "Extra" for the latest details.

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