DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Star May Make Video Turn At Sentencing

Johansson films statement about nude pix hacker

Scarlett Johansson

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Scarlett Johansson

JULY 13--Federal prosecutors are seeking a judge’s permission to play a videotape recorded by Scarlett Johansson at the upcoming sentencing of the convicted felon who illegally accessed the actress’s e-mail account, stole naked photos, and then leaked the images online, The Smoking Gun has learned.

In advance of the July 23 sentencing of hacker Christopher Chaney, Department of Justice lawyers are seeking a judicial order allowing them to let the 27-year-old describe her victimization at Chaney’s hands--without Johansson actually being present in a Los Angeles courtroom.

While government filings do not identify Johansson by name, a TSG source familiar with the prosecution application identified her as the Chaney target seeking to make a videotaped victim impact statement.

In a court filing today, prosecutors reported that the female victim was unable to attend Chaney’s sentencing hearing because she is “scheduled to be in Europe for business meetings and personal matters” on the date of the 36-year-old Chaney’s sentencing (and for several weeks thereafter). Johansson was photographed this week lounging on a yacht in Taormina, Italy.

Prosecutors have proposed that Johansson’s videotape, which has already been recorded, would be played in open court, but not marked as an exhibit and admitted into evidence.

In a previous filing, prosecutor Lisa Feldman wrote, “Given the nature of the charges in this case, the victim has further requested that after being played, the recorded statement be returned to her representative so that it is not later copied and posted to the Internet or otherwise distributed.”

Today’s court filing is a renewed application by Department of Justice lawyers since Judge S. James Otero had previously denied the government’s videotape request because prosecutors had not “established/or shown why victim cannot appear in person.”

The renewed application is supplemented by a declaration by FBI Agent Josh Eric Sadowsky, who headed the Chaney probe. Sadowsky reported that the victim’s lawyer, Kevin Yorn, had told him that she would be in Europe for at least the next six weeks. Yorn is Johansson’s lawyer. Yorn’s borother Rick is the actress’s agent. And Johansson recorded an album in 2009 with a third Yorn brother, Pete, a singer-songwriter.

A call this afternoon to Kevin Yorn’s L.A. law office was answered by a woman who said, “We have no comment” before hanging up on a TSG reporter.

Last September, two photos showing Johansson naked began circulating online. The self-portraits were stolen from the actress’s Yahoo e-mail account by Chaney, who was named one month later in a 26-count federal indictment. Chaney found the naked photos in Johansson’s sent mail file, as she had previously e-mailed the images to her then-husband Ryan Reynolds.

Chaney, seen in the above mug shot, pleaded guilty in March to nine felonies related to his hacking into the e-mails of more than 50 celebrities, including Johansson, singer Christina Aguilera, and actresses Mila Kunis, Jessica Alba, Busy Phillips, and Renee Olstead.

Prosecutors have asked Otero to sentence Chaney--who has a prior felony fraud conviction--to 71 months in prison, while also ordering him to pay about $160,000 in restitution, with $66,179.46 of that amount earmarked for Johansson. (5 pages)