Justin, Cameron Go Camera Shy

A-list twosome under police investigation after paparazzo accuses them of assault, stealing camera

By Joal Ryan Nov 11, 2004 2:20 AMTags

Rumored to be on the outs just months ago, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake have reached a new level of celebrity togetherness: They're both under investigation for pouncing on a paparazzo.

Police are looking into a complaint filed last Saturday by a photographer who accuses Diaz and Timberlake of grand theft and battery, Officer Eduardo Funes of the Los Angeles Police Department said Wednesday.

"A crime report was taken," Funes said. "An investigation is under way."

While police were tightlipped on specifics, the Nov. 22 edition of Us Weekly is not. The new issue, due out this week, features six shots purchased from shutterbug Saul Lazo and Jose Gonzalez's photo agency of their evening with Diaz and Timberlake outside Hollywood's legendary Chateau Marmont hotel.

The pictures range from Diaz and Timberlake (wearing a sweatshirt bearing the stenciled imprint, "criminal") in smiling, hand-holding mode, to Diaz engaged in a one-on-one skirmish with Lazo.

"After we took a couple of shots, Cameron just ran at me," Lazo tells Us Weekly. "She tried to take me down. Then she took my camera."

While Diaz and Lazo were sorting out their issues, Gonzalez says in Us that Timberlake tried to block him from taking pictures. Later, Gonzalez alleges in the magazine, the popster slapped Lazo on the head.

According to police, the criminal complaint naming Diaz and Timberlake was filed by Lazo.

Diaz and Timberlake, meanwhile, have a different take on the story behind the pictures.

In a joint statement from their reps Wednesday, the two stars say they were "ambushed by two men who jumped out of a concealed hiding place on a dark, deserted street late at night."

"Any actions by Diaz and Timberlake were merely taken in self-defense," the statement said.

Diaz's swipe of Lazo's camera was described as evidence gathering by the Charlie's Angels detective--a move undertaken "in order to be able to identify the individuals who jumped out at [Diaz and Timberlake]."

The grand-theft accusation, a possible felony charge, is believed to concern Lazo's camera. Per Diaz and Timberlake, the camera is now with police.

Diaz, 32, and Timberlake, 23, have dated for more than a year, their A-list coupling inspiring celebrity photographers to expend much film.

Even before the recent paparazzi dustup, the pairing had not been picture perfect. Last summer, Timberlake sued a British tabloid that claimed he'd stepped out on Diaz with a model. (Diaz, meanwhile, was waging her own legal battle against a photographer who had snapped topless shots of her in her pre-Mask days.)

More stories of discontent surfaced in September, around the time of Timberlake ex Britney Spears' wedding ceremony. Reports had the former 'N Sync singer out and about in Los Angeles in the company of a woman other than the brand-name actress.

But last month the couple turned up as a couple at a DVD release party in Hollywood.