Court tells Naomi to turn up or face arrest

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The Independent US

Naomi Campbell was warned that a warrant would be issued for her arrest if she does not show up in court in November, after she failed to turn up for a hearing yesterday.

The British model was supposed to appear at Manhattan criminal court over accusations that she threw a mobile phone at her housekeeper's head.

Her lawyer, David Breitbart, said her absence was not due to professional reasons, but refused to explain further.

Prosecutors told the court that discussions on a possible plea bargain were continuing and the case was adjourned until 15 November. A bench warrant was stayed, because the prosecution did not ask for it, but Judge James Gibbons said that if Ms Campbell did not appear on the new date, it would take effect.

"I want to make it clear that she is absolutely obliged to appear at the next hearing," he said.

Mr Breitbart said prosecutors had offered him a plea bargain but he was still considering whether or not to accept it.

Ms Campbell was "not able" to be at the court, he added. He refused to discuss whether a health problem had kept Ms Campbell away.

Mr Breitbart had asked to discuss the case privately so the press could not hear, but the judge said that under the First Amendment of the US Constitution it had to be on the record.

The judge asked prosecutors incredulously: "The defendant failed to appear and you are not asking for a bench warrant?"

Mr Breitbart said that the District Attorney's office knew in advance that Ms Campbell would not appear. "There were no surprises today," he said.