Leidschendam, Netherlands Naomi Campbell flirted with Liberia’s former president across the dinner table at Nelson Mandela’s presidential mansion in 1997 and boasted the following morning that Charles Taylor had given her a huge diamond during the night, Mia Farrow and another witness testified at Taylor’s war crimes trial Monday.
Prosecutors hope testimony from the actress-turned-human rights activist and from Campbell’s estranged former modeling agent will help tie Taylor to the illicit “blood diamond” trade that fueled Sierra Leone’s civil war. Both contradicted Campbell’s account from the witness stand last week that she did not know the nature or value of what she had received.
However, even if judges accept the women’s testimony, it seems unlikely to change the course of the trial. Neither claimed to know for certain it was Taylor that gave Campbell the diamonds, meaning the episode will almost certainly be a surreal interlude of glamour in a grim case focused on murder and mutilation in the jungles of West Africa.
Taylor says he is innocent of 11 war-crimes charges linked to allegations he supported rebels during Sierra Leone’s vicious 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002 with an estimated 100,000 dead.
He has dismissed suggestions he was involved in the diamond trade as “complete, complete nonsense.”