Woods wins UK court ban against nude, sex photos

MIAMI, (Reuters) – Golfer Tiger Woods, fighting to fend off intense media scrutiny over allegations he cheated on his wife, has won a British court order banning publication in Britain of any photos or video showing him nude or having sex.

British law firm Schillings, which specializes in protecting the reputations of celebrities, obtained the  injunction on Woods’ behalf on Thursday at the High Court in London, partner Simon Smith told Reuters by phone yesterday.

A letter from the lawyers accompanying the injunction contains a statement that “this Order is not to be taken as an admission that any such photographs exist.”

Woods, 33, the world’s No. 1 golfer, has been engulfed by a  storm of media attention since being involved in a minor car  accident outside his Florida home before dawn on Nov. 27 in  which he suffered facial cuts and bruises.

The celebrity sportsman, who has a Swedish wife and is the  father of two young children, later admitted “transgressions”  in a statement that apparently addressed allegations he had  multiple extra-marital affairs with a range of mistresses.

The court order, a copy of which was published by the U.S.  celebrity gossip website TMZ.com, prohibits the publication in  the United Kingdom of “Any photographs, footage or images taken  or obtained of the Claimant naked or any naked parts of the  Claimant’s body or of him involved in any sexual activity.”

U.S. and British tabloid newspapers and media websites have  published comments from and photos of a parade of women,  including cocktail waitresses and porn stars, who have claimed  relationships with Woods.

Without specifically admitting any of the alleged affairs,  Woods has asked that his private life be respected.

The scandal has badly dented the golfer’s until now  carefully preserved image as a perfectionist sportsman, which  formed the basis of lucrative endorsements of various companies  that have helped make Woods perhaps the world’s richest  athlete, with a fortune estimated at $1 billion.

His commercial sponsors and backers have said they are  standing by him.
‘NOT AWARE 0F ANY IMAGES’

At least one U.S. publication has said it has been offered pictures of Woods naked.

The High Court order applies to UK territory and is  addressed to “person or persons unknown who have taken or  obtained or offered for publication” photographs or images or  video footage of Woods nude or having sex.

The Schillings letter accompanying the court order says:  “Our client is not aware of any images and in any event he  would not have consented to any such photographs being taken  nor would he have consented to the dissemination or  exploitation of the same.”

It adds that “in the event that these photographs do exist,  and it is not admitted, any such images may have been  fabricated, altered, manipulated and or changed to create the  false appearance and impression that they are nude photographs  of our client.”

The Florida Highway Patrol has closed its investigation  into Woods’ accident after issuing a ticket to him for careless  driving and saying no criminal charges would be brought.

His wife, Elin Nordegren, told police she pulled him from  the crashed car after using a golf club to smash a window.

The golfer, appealing for privacy, has not confirmed  numerous media reports that he was arguing with his wife about  his affairs just when the accident occurred.

Woods has paid his $164 traffic fine.

The top draw on the PGA tour, he is chasing Jack Nicklaus’  record for victories in major tournaments and the unofficial  title of best golfer ever. Woods has won 71 times on the tour  in a spectacular career that includes 14 major wins.

Nicklaus said on Thursday he believed Woods would “figure  out” a way through the scandal.

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