Madonna wins privacy case against UK tabloid

LONDON (AP) -December 8, 2008

The pop star won a judgment Monday against a British tabloid that she accused of breaching her privacy and copyright by publishing pictures of her 2000 wedding.

Madonna, who says the pictures were stolen by an interior decorator from her home in Beverly Hills, California, is seeking damages in excess of 5 million pounds ($7.5 million) from the publishers of the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Judge David Eady entered a judgment in her favor but deferred a decision on compensation until the new year.

Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie, who recently gained a preliminary divorce decree, were married at a Scottish castle on Dec. 22, 2000.

No pictures of the event had been published until they appeared Oct. 19 in the Mail on Sunday, said Matthew Nicklin, a lawyer representing Madonna. The newspaper published 11 photographs over the front page and a double-page inside spread.

"She was ambushed, for the simple reason that if the Mail on Sunday had told her what they intended to do, the claimant would have sought and obtained an injunction," Nicklin said.

Nicklin said the newspaper paid 5,000 pounds ($7,500) for the pictures.

Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday, had no immediate comment on the court's decision.

Nicklin said the only photographs of the wedding were taken by photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino and presented to Madonna as a gift. He said Madonna put the photographs in an album that she kept in her home.

He said an interior designer, Robert Joseph Wilber, "surreptitiously gained access to the photograph album and copied at least 26 photographs."

Those images, which he said had "essentially been stolen by Mr. Wilber" were sold Oct. 15 to the Mail on Sunday by a woman identified as Bonnie Robinson of Los Angeles, Nicklin said.

Despite admissions made by the newspaper, Madonna has not received an apology, Nicklin added.

Madonna and Ritchie were granted a preliminary decree of divorce on Nov. 21. The split is expected to become final early next month.

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