Taylor lawyers seek to delay Naomi Campbell testimony

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Lawyers for Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor want to delay supermodel Naomi Campbell's testimony, set for Thursday, about a "blood diamond" he allegedly gave her, court papers showed.

"The defence respectfully requests the trial chamber to stay the hearing of the evidence of Naomi Campbell, scheduled for August 5, 2010, until such time as the prosecution would have obtained and disclosed to the defence a statement of Naomi Campbell's anticipated evidence," a defence motion said.

Claiming that prosecutors have committed a breach of duty by not providing such a statement, the motion, dated last Friday, said this violated Taylor's right to a fair trial.

Taylor, 62, has been on trial in The Hague since 2008 for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone, accused of arming rebels there in return for illegally mined diamonds.

He has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Campbell is due to testify on Thursday about claims by her former agent Carole White and actress Mia Farrow that she was given a diamond by Taylor after a celebrity dinner hosted by then South African president Nelson Mandela in September 1997.

Prosecutors claim her testimony will prove that Taylor did possess rough diamonds, in spite of his denials.

The model had refused to talk to prosecutors about the alleged gift, prompting them to get a court subpoena for her testimony.

© 2010 AFP

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