In court, Alec Baldwin tells of stalker 'out of Hitchcock'
NEW YORK — Alec Baldwin can always be counted on to give a good performance, whether on television or on the witness stand, and his testimony in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday was no exception.
In confronting a woman accused of stalking him, Baldwin wiped a tear from his eye and spoke movingly about how the woman, Genevieve Sabourin, 41, had arrived uninvited at his East Hampton mansion in March 2012 and ruined the misty afternoon when he proposed to his new bride, Hilaria Thomas. His voice became hushed.
"I ran to tell my wife not to go near the door, because I wasn't sure if she had a gun or a weapon," he said Tuesday, at Sabourin's harassment trial.
He read dramatically from an email in which Sabourin threatened to "get to him" and suggested that she knew where he lived, how to get into a studio where he worked, where his older daughter lived and where his fiancee taught yoga.
Later, Baldwin jousted with her defense lawyer. With a wry smile, he turned questions about emails he sent Sabourin to his advantage and taunted the young lawyer, saying at one point, "I know you're nervous." Over and over, he painted Sabourin as both delusional and dangerous.
Baldwin, 55, testified that he had never had a romantic or sexual relationship with Sabourin. He said he met with her only once, for dinner, as a favor to a friend, the film producer Martin Bregman, who requested that he counsel her about an acting career. "She was his mistress," Baldwin said.
But after that dinner at Elios Restaurant in February 2010, Sabourin bombarded him with hundreds of emails and as many as 30 voice mail messages a night, acting as though they had been lovers, Baldwin said.
She pleaded to meet with him, sometimes sobbing, sometimes breaking into hysterical laughter. The messages became threats, to visit his home and to go to his fiancée's yoga class. "It was nightmarish," Baldwin said.
Then, in March last year, she started showing up in person, "like something out of Hitchcock," Baldwin said. Not only did she appear at his Long Island house, but she also sat in the front row a few days later at a Lincoln Center film screening at which he was speaking. Four days later, on Easter Sunday, she came to his apartment building in Manhattan and asked for him. His wife called the police, and Sabourin was arrested.
When Baldwin firmly denied to a prosecutor that he had slept with Sabourin, an aspiring French Canadian actress, she burst out: "Well, you are lying. I can't believe you are doing that. He's lying!"
In an interview, Bregman, 86, also questioned Baldwin's truthfulness. He denied he had a romantic affair with Sabourin, who worked for him in 2002 as a publicist. "That is absolutely untrue," he said.
So frequent were Sabourin's outbursts in court that Judge Robert M. Mandelbaum threatened to have her removed by officers. When Baldwin suggested she might be guilty of substance abuse, she leapt up and said: "He's vilifying me to the press!"
'Show the scar'
Her lawyer, Todd Spodek, tried to calm her, but she chastised him for failing to ask Baldwin about a scar on his body, presumably in a private place. "He's got to show the scar," she said. "It's the only way I can prove the sexual relationship."
Sabourin has maintained she had a tryst with Baldwin at the Lowell Hotel after their dinner in 2010 and that they maintained a friendly email correspondence for nearly two years afterward. She has said she came to see him in New York last year to confront him about their curdled love affair.
In August 2012, Baldwin married Thomas, 29, and they had a daughter, Carmen, a year later.
Sabourin is charged with harassment and stalking, both misdemeanors. She rejected a plea bargain from the Manhattan district attorney that would have resulted in no jail time if she obeyed a court order to stay away from the Baldwins. Now she faces up to 90 days in jail if convicted.
Under cross-examination, Baldwin read several emails he had sent to Sabourin in late 2011 and early 2012 that suggested they were on friendly terms.
But Baldwin said he was humoring Sabourin in those letters, gently coaxing her to drop her obsession with him because she had ignored his blunt request that she stop writing. "I wanted her to leave me alone," he said.