Amber Frey, a key figure in the Scott Peterson double murder case, is suing a pornography broker for $6 million for posting nude and seminude photos of her on his Web site.
Frey, a 28-year-old Fresno massage therapist, is a potential key witness against the 30-year-old Modesto fertilizer salesman, who is accused of murdering his wife and son.
During an emotional news conference at Modesto police headquarters in January, Frey said she did not know Peterson was married when she became romantically involved with him in the weeks before his pregnant wife, Laci, disappeared.
Police said Frey cooperated with their investigation. Partial phone records show she called Peterson dozens of times while investigators tapped his phones, often calling a police detective immediately after hanging up with Peterson.
Frey also called Laci Peterson's mother, brother and friends, and continued to call Scott Peterson after the phone taps were turned off, the records show.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Frey accuses David Hans Schmidt of posting photos of her on his pay-for-use Web site without her permission.
Schmidt's Arizona-based public relations and production company, which carries his name, also is named in the lawsuit, which alleges misappropriation of Frey's name and likeness, unlawful or misleading advertising, invasion of privacy, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The pictures were taken in 1999 at Emerald Photography in Clovis for a "test shoot," according to the lawsuit. Frey was 24 at the time.
Schmidt has said he purchased the photos from the photographer earlier this year and attempted to sell them to Larry
Flynt for publication in the pornographic magazine Hustler. Schmidt posted them on his Web site in September.
At no time did Frey "license or authorize the use of her photographs by any defendant or any other person," the lawsuit states.
Frey is seeking to have a court forbid the sale or use of the photographs and require all negatives, reproductions and copies confiscated and destroyed.
Schmidt could not be reached for comment Tuesday. In earlier interviews he has said he had a legally binding model release for the photos.
"I hope she sues," Schmidt said in September.
Frey's attorneys contend that the purported model release is a "data sheet" that indicated Frey "had no tattoos, no body piercings, likes horses and would pose nude."
"Nothing on the data sheet discussed or described any agreement between the parties, nor did it make any reference to the actual taking of photographs or rights to photographs," the lawsuit reads.
K. Arianne Jordan, an attorney with the Los Angeles law firm that filed the lawsuit Monday and said it was filed as quickly as possible after the photos were posted online.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Frey as a witness in Peterson's murder case, said she is not handling the lawsuit, because she is a potential witness.
In a June 5 letter to Allred's law firm, Schmidt offered to destroy the photographs if Frey would agree to allow him to broker a deal for her involving new nude photographs, according to the lawsuit.
Bee staff writer John Coté can be reached at 578-2394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.