Article source: News
   Entertainment : International Updated:   04/11/2003 12:43 - (SA)

Britney negotiating with 'stalker'
01/03/2003 15:33  - (SA)  

Los Angeles - Pop diva Britney Spears is locked in negotiations to avoid a messy court battle with a Japanese fan that she has accused of stalking her, lawyers said Friday.

Spears' representatives said she was in serious talks with Masahiko Shizawa against whom she sought a stay-away order in December after he allegedly sent her hundreds of "love notes," followed her and tried to break into her home.

But the Yokohama-born tourist's lawyer Simon Hiller said Friday that Shizawa was not a stalker. "He's an avid fan," adding that the stalking allegations were the result of a cultural misunderstanding.

"He's not a stalker ... he's an intellectual. He's a smart guy," said Hiller, adding that his client was a computer programmer who had made a lucrative living with technology patents.

Spears' attorney, Joel Strote said he expected the dispute to be resolved without a court hearing.

Spears had asked a judge to issue an injunction ordering Shizawa to stay at least 1 000m away from her house, workplace, car and "any other location (Spears) might travel to within or outside" the county.

Court documents showed that she claimed the 41-year-old Japanese citizen had repeatedly turned up at her homes, followed her and sent her a note reading: "I'm chasing you."

If the 21-year-old singer's request for the restraining order is granted, Shizawa - who was forced to return to Japan - could find his travel options to the United States severely limited.

Spears starred in last year's teen movie "Crossroads" and has scored major musical hits with the songs "Baby One More Time," "Oops! I Did It Again" and "I'm a Slave 4 U." - AFP

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