to the board members for spotting this counterfeit a mile away, I knew it wasn't Anna, she's too smart to get caught in something this stupid:
Penthouse Sued in Kournikova Photo Controversy
Updated 7:01 PM ET May 6, 2002
By Gail Appleson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton sued Penthouse Magazine on Monday for publishing unauthorized photographs of her sunbathing topless while allegedly misidentifying her as Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova.
Judith Soltesz-Benetton, 28, sued Penthouse's parent company General Media Communications for damages of more than $10 million. The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, also seeks a court order recalling the 1.2 million copies of the June issue of the men's magazine.
In a hearing later in the day, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin barred the magazine from posting the photographs on its Internet Web site as had been scheduled for Friday. He also ordered that no further copies of the magazine be distributed before a hearing next week.
Victor Kovner, a lawyer representing General Media, said there was no basis for the lawsuit and the plaintiff has not alleged libel. Instead he said Soltesz-Benetton sued on grounds that the pictures were used purely for commercial reasons and not in connection with any article.
However, Kovner said the magazine had run the pictures in connection with a news story about Kournikova.
'WRONG PHOTOGRAPH CASE'
The lawyer said the company is investigating whether it had misidentified the woman in the photographs. If there was an error, he said Penthouse would correct it.
``At most, this is simply a wrong photograph case,'' Kovner said.
Soltesz-Benetton, who lives in Italy, is married to Rocco Benetton. The suit said she is the mother of a 2-year-old child and is currently four months pregnant.
The suit alleged the topless photographs have caused Soltesz-Benetton great embarrassment.
It alleged it is ``all the more degrading'' that the photographs appear in an issue that contains such explicit sexual pictures as a fully nude woman ``performing fellatio on a plastic male member while purportedly fantasizing about being a slave girl who is raped by an ancient Roman soldier.''
Penthouse had allegedly obtained a number of unauthorized photographs of Soltesz-Benetton taken of her while sunbathing topless in Miami about seven years ago. The suit alleged that the magazine then published a dozen pictures of the plaintiff misidentifying her as Kournikova.
The cover of Penthouse's June issue carries the headline ''Exclusive Anna Kournikova Caught Close Up on Nude Beach.''
Kournikova's management agency has previously said that the pictures were not of the tennis star and that she also plans to sue Penthouse over the photographs.
Soltesz-Benetton said in the suit that she learned of the existence of the photographs on May 1 when she saw a television tabloid show about controversy over the photos.
``When the television show displayed one of the disputed Penthouse photographs, plaintiff was shocked to see that it was in fact she, and not Kournikova, pictured in the magazine,'' the suit alleged.