|Naomi Campbell’s former agent Carole White (left) testified Campbell “told me he was going to give her some diamonds.’’|
Farrow tells war crimes court model received diamond
Says Campbell ‘excited’ by gift
LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands — Naomi Campbell told Mia Farrow that she received a “huge diamond’’ from the former president of Liberia, the actress said from the witness stand yesterday, contradicting the model’s testimony that she didn’t know the value of the gift from accused war criminal Charles Taylor.
The prosecution called Farrow, the American actress, and Campbell’s former agent to testify about uncut diamonds that Taylor allegedly gave the model after a September 1997 party they all attended that was hosted by then-South African President Nelson Mandela.
Prosecutors have pulled the celebrity witnesses into Taylor’s trial hoping they will show Taylor was in possession of at least one “blood diamond,’’ stones sold to fund wars. Prosecutors say Taylor traded guns to rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in exchange for uncut diamonds during Sierra Leone’s 1992-2002 civil war, which left more than 100,000 dead in the West African nation.
Taylor says he is innocent of war crimes and has denied ever trading in diamonds.
Campbell, who resisted appearing before the war crimes court for months, testified under subpoena Thursday that she was given several small stones by men she didn’t know after the dinner in Pretoria. The British model said she neither knew they were diamonds nor who had sent them.
But Farrow testified that Campbell had told other guests over breakfast in 1997 she had received a large gem from Taylor. She said Campbell said she planned to give it to charity, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. She added that Campbell seemed “excited, happy’’ at the gift.
Campbell’s former agent Carole White testified Taylor and Campbell had “flirted’’ across the table at dinner.
At one point, White said, Campbell leaned back to speak to her. She “was very excited and she told me he was going to give her some diamonds,’’ White told the court.
But during cross-examination, defense lawyers strongly challenged the testimony of both Farrow and White.
“You have a very powerful motive for lying,’’ Courtenay Griffiths said to White, noting the former manager is suing Campbell for millions of dollars over an alleged breach of contract.
Meanwhile, Farrow, 65, conceded she had never seen the diamond or diamonds herself.
Confronted with Campbell’s testimony that the gift was three small rough diamonds that looked like pebbles rather than one “huge’’ polished diamond, Farrow stuck by her story, saying, “I think I would have remembered diamonds in the plural,’’ it was “sort of an unforgettable moment.’’