Stalking defendant says he wanted Paltrow to forgive him
LOS ANGELES — A man charged with stalking Gwyneth Paltrow told jurors Thursday that he kept writing to the actress in recent years because he wanted her forgiveness for sending her pornographic messages nearly 17 years ago.
Dante Soiu was one of the final witnesses at his four-day trial focusing on packages and letters — some of which expressed his desire to marry Paltrow — sent in 2014 and 2015.
Soiu, 66, testified that he never intended to scare Paltrow or physically harm her.
“I have no desire to hurt her feelings,” Soiu said. “I have no desire to harass her.”
A prosecutor however urged jurors to disregard his statements and instead view Soiu as a calculating, crazy stalker who would never stop harassing Paltrow.
“It’s a compulsion and an obsession to insert himself into her life,” Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall said in closing arguments.
She told jurors that the case actually got Soiu what he wanted — to spend time with Paltrow, who testified against him on Monday.
“He gets to spend hours in a room with the object of his desire,” Segall said. “This is not a stupid man. This is actually a highly intelligent man.”
Soiu told jurors that he was lonely and wanted a pen pal and kept writing to the Oscar winner despite the previous stalking case involving the actress that led to him being sent to a mental institution for several years.
Prosecutors say Soiu sent 66 messages to Paltrow between 2009 and 2015 before he was arrested.
Soiu’s attorney Lynda Westlund has said her client was merely trying to minister to Paltrow in the latest messages and she misinterpreted his biblical messages.
The actress testified Monday that she was scared of Soiu and broke down when a prosecutor asked if she was afraid for the safety of her children.
Soiu testified Wednesday that he wrote to a variety of public figures, including President Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie and Vladmir Putin, but Paltrow was the only one he wanted to marry.
He previously tried to meet Paltrow in 1999 and 2000 after sending her the pornographic messages and sex toys.
Paltrow, 43, won an Oscar in 1999 for her role in “Shakespeare in Love.” She has two children with estranged husband Chris Martin, front man of the band Coldplay.
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