Mia Farrow contradicted Naomi Campbell‘s testimony at the war crimes trial of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, saying the model had told her how she had received a “huge diamond” from him.
In sworn testimony last week, supermodel Campbell admitted receiving two or three “dirty-looking stones” after a 1997 dinner with Taylor at Nelson Mandela‘s home in South Africa, but said she did not know who sent them.
Those stones are believed to be “blood diamonds” — gems mined in war zones and used to fund conflict and corruption. Connecting Taylor with the trade in blood diamonds is crucial to the prosecution’s case in the Special Court for Sierra Leone. They allege that the one-time West African strongman used the uncut jewels to subsidize a brutal 10-year-long civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone.
During her appearance, Campbell said she didn’t know who gave her the stones, which were delivered to her room in Pretoria late at night by two men. But Farrow told the court that when Campbell came down for breakfast the next morning, she began gushing about the gift before “she even sat down.”
“Naomi Campbell entered the room where my children and I were already eating breakfast. As I recall it she was quite excited and said, in effect, ‘Oh my God, in the middle of night I was awakened by knocking at the door. It was men sent by Charles Taylor and he sent me,’ as I recall, ‘a huge diamond.’”
Farrow and Campbell had been guests at Mandela’s 1997 celebrity-filled charity dinner party, which Taylor also attended. Campbell told the tribunal that she shared the story of how she was handed the diamonds in the middle of the night with her then-agent, Carole White, and Farrow the following morning. “Well, that’s obviously Charles Taylor,” one of them said, although Campbell didn’t recall the identity of the speaker. Then, one of the two women added, “Well, obviously, they are diamonds.” Campbell said she assumed the stones came from Taylor, but testified that she wasn’t sure.
After the model finished her testimony — during which she admitted that she didn’t know where Liberia was — prosecutors said they intended to present two witnesses who would highlight the errors in Campbell’s story. Farrow was the first witness. White is expected to take the stand this week.
During an interview with prosecutors in May, Campbell’s former agent said the model and the dictator were “mildly flirtatious” throughout the dinner, and that he had promised Campbell a gift of diamonds. “It was arranged that he would send some men back with the gift,” the prosecutors’ notes read, adding that White said Campbell, “seemed excited about the diamonds and she kept talking about them.”
Before taking over as Liberia’s president in 1997 — a post he held until advancing rebel troops forced him to go into exile in Nigeria in 2003 — Taylor led the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, an armed group that fought to control neighboring Sierra Leone’s highly profitable diamond mines. Taylor is accused of selling diamonds and buying weapons for Sierra Leone’s brutal Revolutionary United Front militia, known for hacking off the hands and legs of civilians during the 1992-2002 civil war, during which up to a quarter of a million people died. The ex-president has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of murder, sexual slavery and enlisting child soldiers.
Taylor, 62, was arrested in Nigeria and transferred in 2006 to The Hague, where the U.N. and Sierra Leone set up the court to try alleged war criminals. Eight other defendants have so far been sentenced to jail terms. The court will shut down after Taylor’s trial.
Which reminds me of the time Naomi Campbell was interviewed about the diamonds — and how angry Naomi got.
I think it’s fairly obvious, she had something to hide. She probably just doesn’t want to give the diamond back — stingy!
source: Naomi Campbell excited to have received ‘blood diamond’ from Charles Taylor: Farrow [telegraph]
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