Friday, November 15, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — A Canadian actress who pined for Alec Baldwin was convicted Thursday of stalking him with yearning emails and phone calls that spiraled into unbidden appearances at his homes.
So voluble during her trial that she was held in contempt of court, Genevieve Sabourin was tearful but largely mum as a judge found her guilty of charges including stalking and harassment and sentenced her to six months in jail. That was on top of a month she's already serving because of her courtroom outbursts.
"I haven't done anything wrong. I'm innocent," she told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum when he invited her to speak. "You're doing a mistake right now."
Sabourin, who hails from the Montreal suburb of Candiac, had turned down a plea offer that would have spared her jail time.
Baldwin's wife, Hilaria, said in a statement afterward that the two "feel safe, relieved and happy to move forward" with the case resolved.
The "30 Rock" actor testified that Sabourin, 41, turned his life into a two-year-long horror film after they had dinner together. He said the evening was only a chat about her career prospects, not the romantic tryst she portrayed.
Baldwin, 55, said he repeatedly implored the actress to stop contacting him before she ultimately was arrested in front of his Manhattan apartment building in 2012, shortly after he and his wife got engaged. The Baldwins met in 2011.
Sabourin testified that the actor took her on a fairy-tale date that ended in bed, sketched out a future together and then sent mixed messages about whether he wanted to hear from and see her again.
"She's not entitled to an explanation for a dream that he sold her?" her lawyer, Todd Spodek, said in a closing argument. "Mr. Baldwin doesn't have carte blanche to use the criminal justice system to sort out his relationships."
But the judge said that however Sabourin and Baldwin got to know each other, she had no right to pursue contact she knew to be unwanted and amounted to a "relentless and escalating campaign of threats and in-person appearances."
Baldwin and Sabourin agree on this much: They first met during a 2000 movie shoot in Montreal and had dinner a decade later in New York. Mutual friend Martin Bregman, producer of movies including "Scarface," had put the two in touch as Sabourin sought career help.
Baldwin said Sabourin then flooded him with calls and emails. After a March 2012 message said she could infiltrate his apartment building and his now-wife's yoga class, "I knew that she was dangerous," Baldwin testified.
Then Sabourin turned up at a film screening he was hosting and at his Hamptons and Manhattan homes, he said.
Baldwin acknowledged he sent Sabourin some friendly emails along the way. He said he was just hoping a congenial approach would work where appeals to leave him alone had failed.
She said she kept trying to communicate with him just to understand what had happened between them, not to intimidate him.
"It's not, because he's rich and famous, that he can take advantage of women and throw them in the garbage," she testified.
Prosecutors said what she called a quest for "closure" was an obsession that crossed the line into crime.
"None of this is to say that the defendant's conduct in this case isn't sad, but it doesn't make her conduct justifiable," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Zachary Stendig said in his summation.