ASPEN - Somebody allegedly pulled a knife Tuesday evening when paparazzi from two competing celebrity photo agencies got into a tussle in downtown Aspen. Aspen police arrested Andrew Edward Del Palacio, 25, on a felony menacing charge. He posted bail and was allowed to go home to Los Angeles, but is scheduled to return to Aspen for court Jan. 8.
The trouble began when five photographers from one agency got in a heated argument with two others from a competing agency while trying to get a snapshot of singer Seal coming off the slopes, Aspen police said. "There was a little chest-bumping shouting match between two reps," said Terry Leitch, an Aspen police officer. "One group got offended that the other group was trying to block the view intentionally."The five paparazzi claimed that they are more professional - using telephoto lenses and not getting in the face of the celebrity. However, Steve Ginsburg, who court records indicate is the victim in the case, has been known to take celebrity-hunting to extremes for his employer, Splash News.
For instance, New York Magazine reported that Ginsburg, a former bartender, relentlessly tracked Britney Spears while she was pregnant, hoping to get the first baby photo. According to the article, he learned her moves and habits, trying to get as much information as possible. Neither Del Palacio nor Ginsburg was available for comment. Leitch said the altercation began as the photographers were leaving the Gondola Plaza in Aspen. By the time police were called, the paparazzi were exchanging verbal barbs near Ajax Bike and Ski.
Leitch said no punches were thrown, and the knife was only out for a few seconds. However, two members of the group with Ginsburg described the knife that police said they found on Del Palacio. The Celebrity Babylon Web site posted a feature Tuesday of "Seal and Heidi Klum's clan enjoying a stroll in Aspen." The photos show shots of Seal, Klum and their kids walking around Aspen. Felony menacing carries a possible sentence of one to three years in prison and a $1,000 to $100,000 fine.