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N. Zealand filmmaker arrested in drag in US prostitution sting

2 February 2006




New Zealand filmmaker Lee Tamahori, who directed the James Bond movie "Die Another Day," has been arrested in a Hollywood prostitution sting while dressed in drag.


Tamahori, 55, was arrested on January 8 when he allegedly sought sex with an undercover policeman while clad in women's clothes, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.


"Mr Tamahori was arrested for soliciting. I can confirm he was dressed in women's clothing at the time of the arrest," Officer Jason Lee of the Los Angeles Police Department said.


Prosecutors confirmed they had filed two misdemeanour charges against the Hollywood filmmaker: agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution and unlawfully loitering on Hollywood's Santa Monica Boulevard.


"He was arrested after approaching an undercover officer who was sitting in his car and offering to perform a sex act," Frank Mateljan of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.


"The defendant was dressed in drag, loitering on the sidewalk," the spokesman said.


Tamahori also directed last year's action adventure "XXX: State of the Union" with Samuel L. Jackson and Willem Dafoe and 2001's "Along Came a Spider" with Morgan Freeman.


He is due to appear in court in Los Angeles on February 24 to be arraigned on the two charges. He is free on 2,000 dollars bail, according to the City Attorney's office.


Tamahori's lawyer, celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, did not immediately return calls for comment on the arrest of the filmmaker.


He started out as a commercial artist and photographer in New Zealand, before entering the film industry in the late 1970 as a boom microphone operator, going on to become an assistant director.


Tamahori got his break in Hollywood directing an episode of the hit television series "The Sopranos" in 2000 and went on do "Spider" the following year, before making "Die Another Day" starring Piece Brosnan and Oscar-winning Bond girl Halle Berry in 2002.

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