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Cher and Boyfriend Say Media Spotlight to Blame for Incident

July 29, 1988 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Cher blamed pesky paparazzi and the frustration of living under the media spotlight for a smash-up involving a photographer’s car and a Ferrari driven by her boyfriend.

The actress’ boyfriend, Robert Camilletti, 24, also denied he tried to run over the photographer and said he lost control of Cher’s sports car while swerving into the driveway of her home to duck photographers camped outside.

The wreck outside Cher’s home Wednesday heavily damaged both cars. No one was injured.

Camilletti, a former New York bagel maker, pizza chef and bartender, was arrested and booked for investigation of felony assault with a deadly weapon on free-lance photographer Peter Brandt, 35.

In a news conference Thursday closed to most freelance photographers and the tabloid press, Cher defended her boyfriend.

″I know Robert. He is not a violent man. This is not Sean Penn and Madonna,″ she said, referring to the pugnacious actor who’s had a number of run-ins with photographers.

She quickly added that Penn, Madonna’s husband, is ″the sweetest boy I’ve ever known″ and that his outbursts also were triggered by intense media scrutiny.

″I never had any intention of ever hurting anyone at any time,″ said Camilletti, who is pursuing an acting career and recently completed shooting of ″Loverboy″ with Kate Jackson and Kirstie Alley.

″He tried to kill me. He tried to run me over at a high rate of speed,″ Brandt said after the accident. ″I was within my rights. I would never do anything illegal.″

Cher and Camilletti, both clad in black, went over a litany of grievances they said stemmed from the attention the media has paid to their relationship.

Since Cher won an Oscar for her role in ″Moonstruck,″ she said various publications have reported that the couple is planning to marry, that she is pregnant, which she denied, and that she has undergone drastic plastic surgery to maintain her willowy figure and high-cheeked good looks.

″I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and so I’m pretty much used to having my private life destroyed and lies told about me,″ said Cher, who began her career in the 1960s as half of the husband-wife singing duo Sonny and Cher.

″It’s something that you pretty much have to get used to. After a while it really bothers you and disrupts your family life,″ she said. ″I’m usually pretty good about it. I’m getting really, really angry.″