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Judge May Toss Out Actor Tom Sizemore's Conviction for Beating Ex-Girlfriend Fleiss

October 22, 2005|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

A judge has given the Los Angeles city attorney's office 30 days to show why actor Tom Sizemore's conviction two years ago for battering his former girlfriend, the onetime Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, should not be tossed out, his lawyers said Friday.

Sizemore has argued that a photograph of Fleiss with facial bruises that helped convict him of battery may have been fabricated.

The photograph was taken April 13, 2003, by a girlfriend of Fleiss, Tara Dabrizzi, who did not testify at the actor's trial. Since then, Sizemore has found two witnesses who say they saw Fleiss around the time the photo was supposedly taken and did not notice marks or bruises on her face.

Sizemore's attorney, Michael J. Rovell, said they have been unable to find Dabrizzi, who left the U.S. the day after taking the photo. The defense also questioned whether she even exists, noting that while Fleiss testified at the actor's trial that Dabrizzi took the photo, Fleiss responded under oath in a civil lawsuit that she didn't know who took the photo.

"They claim she doesn't exist, but I've spoken to [Dabrizzi]," Deputy City Atty. Robert Cha, who prosecuted Sizemore, said Friday. "I completely deny that she doesn't exist."

Cha said Dabrizzi left the country because her mother was ill in Iran.

Dabrizzi was not called as a witness at the trial because "the photograph speaks for itself," Cha said.

Cha said this week's ruling by Superior Court Judge Antonio Barreto Jr. focused only on the battery count against Sizemore and not on the other counts, such as making threatening and obscene phone calls to Fleiss. Sizemore is appealing his 21-month sentence in the case.

In a separate drug case, Sizemore was given a 16-month suspended prison sentence this week for violating his probation in connection with the drug case. Superior Court Judge Paula Adele Mabrey warned Sizemore that he would go to prison should he violate any of the terms of his probation in the case before her.

The 44-year-old actor, who appeared in the films "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down," said he was bankrupt and was seeking to resuscitate his once-promising acting career.

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