A New York judge has issued a decree and ultimatum ending more than a decade of court feuding between persistent photographer Ron Galella and privacy-minded Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Galella, who has spent years playing his own candid-camera game with Onassis, was back in court yesterday, this time to face sentencing for 12 violations of a court order that he stay 25 feet away from Onassis at all times.
"Do you agree to forfeit your right to take pictures of Mrs. Onassis and her two children as long as you draw breath?" U.S. District Court Judge Irving Ben Cooper asked Galella.
"Yes," Galella answered loudly.
"I don't trust you," said Cooper. "You are going to pay if you dare two-time this judge. No one is going to spit on justice. The Galellas of this world are two-bit chislers and fixers."
The judge's ultimatum: If Galella ever takes another picture of Onassis, he will serve six years in jail and will be fined $120,000.
Cooper may have been a bit tired of the Galella-Onassis affair, since he first heard the case in 1971.
In the early days Galella's tactics for capturing Onassis on film, according to her, ranged from surprising her children at play, to hiding behind a coat rack in a restaurant.
In 1975 Galella was given the court order barring him from within 25 feet of Onassis and 30 feet of her children.
Now, Galella is not to take a single photo of Onassis. Period.
But that's fine, according to Galella. Instead, he said, he plans to stalk Princess Grace of Monaco, beginning later this month at a film festival in Philadelphia.