New Yorkers await Naomi Campbell's next day in court

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The Independent US

It is to be hoped that Naomi Campbell can find the garments she has her heart set on for her appearance in a Manhattan court this week. It was a row over a missing pair of jeans that landed her there in the first place, facing a possible seven years if she is found guilty of attacking her maid with a mobile phone.

The pioneering supermodel has often been described as an enfant terrible of the fashion world, although at 35 she may now simply be terrible. She remains, however, one of the biggest names in the industry, and what she wears still matters.

In her first appearance in the hours after her altercation with Ana Scolavino at her Park Avenue apartment in March, Campbell chose a white poncho to obscure the fact that her hands were cuffed behind her back. She will walk freely into court on Tuesday, through what is certain to be another scrum of reporters, desperate for new details of the fight.

What do we know? An appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show was looming and Campbell got it into her head that her maid had stolen the jeans she planned to wear. Then the two women's accounts part ways. Campbell says she sacked her maid, who went on to concoct a story to extort money from her.

David Breitbart, Campbell's lawyer, insists she will not be changing her plea of not guilty. Her publicists, however, have been singing new tunes in the months since the incident. It is an attempt to portray a calmer, more forward-thinking Naomi, to distance her from her wild past. Most recently she has been reported as hoping for a baby with her paramour, Dubai petroleum heir Badr Jafar.

It will be tough to erase her bad-girl image from the gossip mag archive that constitutes the public psyche. In 2000 she pleaded guilty in a Canadian court to assaulting her former assistant with a telephone, and since the latest run-in it has been open season in the gossip columns, with other employees accusing her of everything from rudeness to outright assault.

After the Canadian incident, she admitted attending anger management courses, and blamed her legendary temper on her father abandoning the family when she was a child. "It's a manifestation of a deeper issue, I think... based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness," she said.

In recent months, the courtrooms of Manhattan have boasted a guest list to rival a glitterati party. Boy George is up tomorrow, ordered to explain why he has not yet paid his $1,000 fine for wasting police time. He was earlier ridiculed in his absence by the judge for suggesting that his community service be spent offering fashion advice.

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