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Reeves cleared in paparazzo lawsuit

November 04, 2008|Harriet Ryan | Ryan is a Times staff writer.

It took a year and a half for a tabloid photographer's lawsuit against actor Keanu Reeves to make it to trial and just over an hour for a jury to decide the man didn't have a case.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court panel in downtown Los Angeles cleared the film star of any liability Monday in a 2007 incident in which a paparazzo alleged that Reeves bashed into him with his Porsche in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The photographer, Alison Silva, maintained that he suffered a broken wrist that left him unable to hold the large cameras necessary for his job. He asked for $711,974 in compensation for medical bills and other damages.

Reeves, who attended the trial, insisted that he never hit Silva, who had trailed him to a medical facility, where he was visiting a relative. The actor testified that as he inched the vehicle forward to leave, the photographer tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground.

A radiologist told jurors the wrist fracture appeared to be an old injury, and an emergency room doctor said Silva admitted hurting his wrist playing soccer as a youth in Brazil.

Silva said he had moved on to shooting videos for tabloid sites after the injury, but on the witness stand, he acknowledged that his decision was motivated by better pay rather than pain. Reeves' lawyers produced a video shot after the incident in which Silva used his hands to get down from a fence where he was trying to shoot video of Britney Spears. The video, the defense said, proved Silva's injuries were nonexistent.

"It's time to end his 15 minutes [of fame]," attorney Alfred Gerisch said Friday.

Silva was undaunted as he left court.

"I respect the jury's decision. This has been a life experience for me," he said. Asked if he would seek out Reeves as a subject in the future, he smiled and said, "Why not?"

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

Times staff writer Joanna Lin contributed to this report.

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