Naomi Campbell, who has recently come under fire for allegedly accepting blood diamonds from warlord Charles Taylor, will be compelled to testify about said gems, if prosecutors in the Hague have their way.
Campbell has told a lot of different stories about what did or did not happen between her and Charles Taylor one night at a charity dinner in 1997. She's said that they never met, although there are photographs of them together, like this one taken by Mia Farrow, below.
Campbell has said that Taylor never gave her diamonds, and she's said that the diamonds he did give her, she gave to charity. (The charity she named had no record of any such gift.) When ABC asked her about the blood diamonds, she threw a producer's camera to the floor. When Oprah asked about the blood diamonds, the supermodel told her, "I don't want to be involved in this man's case — he has done some terrible things and I don't want to put my family in danger."
But it doesn't really matter what she wants; Campbell is involved. If in fact she received blood diamonds from a man who was, even in 1997, known to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, then she involved herself in Taylor's case. Until now, Farrow — who was also staying at Nelson Mandela's compound at the time, and who, like Campbell, met Taylor at a charity dinner hosted by the South African president — was the only witness tying Campbell to the blood diamonds. Farrow said Campbell told her a story of being visited by Taylor's representatives and given diamonds in the night. But the actress's account of a breakfast table conversation that happened 13 years prior was thrown out by the trial judge as hearsay.
Now, another witness has come forward: Carole White, who was Campbell's agent from the dawn of her career, in 1992, until 2007. White was with Campbell on the South Africa trip in question, and even stayed with her at the same guest house on Mandela's property. White's account of the night in question, as reported by ABC, is damning:
In an interview, White's lawyer, Daniel Bright, said that White overheard Taylor telling Campbell at the dinner that he wanted to give her diamonds. Later, according to Bright, when the representatives of Taylor came to the guest house they threw pebbles at the windows. They hit White's window with the pebbles and she let them into the house. White allegedly then watched the men gave about a "half-dozen" uncut gems to Campbell. According to Bright, White remembers Campbell being disappointed with the stones, since she had not expected them to be uncut.
White and her former client have been involved in a series of lawsuits since the dissolution of their business relationship, in 2007, so one could argue that White may have ulterior motives for coming forward. But if Campbell is called to testify, we may at last be able to get to the bottom of this sordid little footnote on a years-long war crimes prosecution.
Prosecution Asks To Subpoena Naomi Campbell In War Crimes Trial [ABC]
The Trial Of Charles Taylor [Charlestaylortrial.org]