Police: Paparazzi hindered cop

By William J. Kole Associated Press Published:

Until more police arrived to help him, all the officer was able to glimpse of Diana was "a blonde head," the daily Le Figaro reported, quoting from the first reports scribbled by investigators 20 minutes after the crash. It did not name the photographers involved in the scuffle.

Six photographers and a motorcycle driver were named Tuesday as official suspects in the case. A lawyer for one of the men denounced the move as "theater justice."

Investigators are waiting for the sole survivor of the crash, Trevor-Rees Jones, to recover enough to tell his story. He may have to write down what happened _ hospital sources told Le Figaro that his jaw was damaged in the crash and that his lips and tongue were torn away. Jones remains hospitalized in Paris in critical condition.

In London, meanwhile, officials said the capital's huge squares and regal boulevards may not be big enough to hold the throngs of mourners expected at Diana's funeral Saturday. The lines of grieving admirers continued to swell today, three days after Diana died in the automobile crash in Paris.

To keep mourners from swamping the capital, Buckingham Palace said today that giant TV screens will be set up in Hyde Park. The palace also announced that the coffin would follow a 77-mile route back to Diana's family home in northwest England to let as many people as possible pause and pay their respects.

Princess Diana's friends want Elton John to be invited to sing at her funeral. Buckingham Palace officials were to say later today if he'll be asked; the Times of London reported that some in Buckingham Palace fear it would not set the proper dignified tone.

The Daily Telegraph quoted Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti, another of Diana's friends, as saying he was invited to sing but is too upset and turned down the invitation.

The early police reports from Paris lend weight to the claim that some among the six photographers and one motorcycist may have not only failed to assist the victims, but impeded those trying to do so. The seven could be charged with involuntary homicide, among other crimes.

"They pushed back and blocked the officer from coming to the aid of the victims," the police report said, according to Le Figaro.

Investigators are examining the photographers' mobile telephones, which electronically record the most recent numbers called, to determine whether they called police or an ambulance, the newspaper France-Soir reported today.

A New York man who was in Paris on vacation and had been returning to his hotel when his taxi happened upon the scene about five minutes after the crash said the photographers swarmed the wreckage "as if they were mosquitoes ... taking photos from every conceivable angle."

"There was no movement of one human being trying to help another human being in a tragedy," said Jack Firestone, 42, who talked to reporters after arriving home Tuesday from Kennedy Airport with his wife, Robin, and their 12-year-old son, Brandon.

One of the photographers, Jacques Langevin of the Sygma agency, told French radio today that he tried to do his job as quickly and unobtrusively as possible and stayed out of the way.

"I took some pictures with a telephoto lens from 10 or 15 meters (yards) away. I did my work normally _ I didn't throw myself on the car," he said.

Langevin, a one-time Associated Press photographer who covered the Tiananmen Square standoff in Beijing and other stories, told the daily Liberation that he was disgusted by what other photographers were doing at the scene and left after taking just five or six pictures.

While the driver of the car that was carrying Diana and her boyfriend has already been accused of speeding and being legally drunk at the time of the crash, there are indications that he was even more intoxicated than previously thought. According to a second toxicology test, Henri Paul's blood-alcohol level was almost four times the legal limit, judicial officials said on customary condition of anonymity.

French radio, citing another driver at the Ritz Hotel where Paul worked, said today that Paul didn't have the special police-issued license required to drive the armor-plated Mercedes.

Paul was the No. 2 security official at Paris' posh Ritz Hotel, owned by Mohamed Al Fayed, _ the father of Diana's boyfriend Dodi Fayed, who also died in the crash. The elder Fayed joined the legal fray Tuesday by declaring himself a civil party in the case.

Georges Kiejman, a well-known lawyer who represents Fayed and once represented the family of the late President Francois Mitterrand, made it clear he aims to establish the fault of the photographers.

The photographers who went before the judge all were arrested at the bloody crash scene, and had been in custody since then. They were freed Tuesday, two on bail.

Along with "involuntary homicide and injuries," they were also placed under investigation for failing to aid those involved in Sunday's accident, as required under France's "Good Samaritan" law.

For both charges, the penalty could be five years in prison and a fine of $83,000.

Those singled out by the judge are: Nikola Arsov, of the Sipa agency; Langevin, of Sygma; Laslo Veres, a freelancer; Stephane Darmon, a motorcyclist for Gamma; Serge Arnal, of the Stills agency; Christian Martinez, of Angeli; and Romuald Rat, of Gamma.

A lawyer for one of the photographers contended that the paparazzi were being used as scapegoats to mollify a public that needs to blame someone for the tragedy.

"This is theater justice, aimed at satisfying the expectations of the

public," said William Bourdon, who represents Arsov.

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