The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Britney in bid to avoid stalker battle

Los Angeles, March 1 (AFP): Pop diva Britney Spears is locked in negotiations to avoid a messy court battle with a Japanese fan who she has accused of stalking her, lawyers said.

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 yesterday 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 1,000 yards 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.”

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