The model Naomi Campbell found herself smiling at a horde of photographers yesterday ï¿½ not from a red carpet or a catwalk, but from the Midtown North police station after she was charged with assaulting her housekeeper with a telephone.
The assault occurred about 8:30 a.m. at Ms. Campbell’s apartment on Park Avenue, the police said, adding that the housekeeper, Ana Scolavino, 41, was struck in the back of the head by the telephone. She was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital, where she received four staples for a gash, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Ms. Campbell, 35, was taken to the station house, and more than 100 reporters, photographers and television camera operators quickly gathered outside. Ms. Campbell left the station just after 4 p.m., wearing jeans, a black baseball cap, sunglasses and a white fur poncho. She grinned as news photographers alongside paparazzi rapidly clicked their shutters, some shouting her name.
It was not the first time Ms. Campbell had been accused of injuring an employee with a telephone. In 1998, she was arrested by the police in Toronto and charged with assaulting an assistant. Her lawyer in that case said the accusation was false and had been made by a disgruntled employee who was about to be fired. Ms. Campbell pleaded guilty in 2000 in that case, and her record was cleared in exchange for her expressing remorse, under an agreement with the prosecution.
Last evening, Ms. Campbell was arraigned downtown in the Criminal Court Building about two hours after she arrived, much more quickly than is considered usual.
During the arraignment, in front of Judge Richard M. Weinberg, an assistant district attorney, Elina Kreditor, said that Ms. Campbell was preparing for an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” when she became angry because she could not find a pair of jeans.
“She accused the complaining witness of stealing the jeans,” Ms. Kreditor told the judge. “As the complaining witness was walking down the stairs she threw a cellphone at her head.” Ms. Kreditor asked that Ms. Campbell surrender her passport and put up $3,500 in bail.
David Breitbart, a lawyer for Ms. Campbell, said she was not guilty and termed the bail request “unsightly” and “an insult.” He then asked the judge to let her fly to South Africa today to participate in a charity event involving Nelson Mandela.
Judge Weinberg granted his request and ordered that Ms. Campbell be released on her own recognizance. She walked out onto Centre Street, once again wading past a sea of clamoring news and entertainment reporters, before departing in a black car. Her next court appearance was scheduled for June 27.
After the proceeding, Mr. Breitbart said that Ms. Scolavino knew “she was in the process of being fired” and “made some kind of allegation against Naomi.”
Attempts to reach Ms. Scolavino at her residence in Brooklyn were unsuccessful last night.