Bensimon: Costner laptop theft a ‘misunderstanding’
December 19, 2005
A local judge on Monday gave Pascal Bensimon, accused of stealing a $1,500 laptop computer from actor Kevin Costner, permission to travel between Aspen and Atlanta to work on his clients’ hair.But before he can go, the Aspen hairstylist must provide the 9th Judicial District Court with the telephone number and address where he will be staying. He must also sign an agreement that if he fails to turn up in Aspen for his next court date, he can be extradited back to Colorado without the usual legal delays.Bensimon’s next appearance in Judge James Boyd’s court is Feb. 6. The judge approved the time lag in order to give Bensimon’s attorney, Lauren Wolpin, a chance to obtain discovery documents from the prosecution and conduct an independent investigation of the case.
Wolpin said in court Monday that by early February she will be ready either to negotiate a plea bargain for her client or to set the case for a jury trial.Bensimon, 44, is accused of stealing an Apple PowerBook from Costner’s home during the actor’s wedding to Christine Baumgartner in late September 2004.According to court documents, the laptop, along with a digital camera containing photos of the wedding, disappeared from Costner’s home on Independence Pass the day of the wedding. Bensimon was at the wedding to provide hairstyling services to the guests.A month later, authorities say, Bensimon’s son allegedly contacted Apple claiming to be the owner of the computer; he said he had forgotten the password to gain access to the computer’s systems.
Although the computer had been reported stolen and its serial number flagged, Apple technicians did not put it together because the computer was never sent in for service, according to court documents.Pitkin County Sheriff’s Investigator Ron Ryan heard about the computer in July from a security guard at Costner’s ranch, and one of Bensimon’s employees told Ryan the computer was in Bensimon’s possession.Bensimon, who has salons in Aspen and Atlanta, ultimately turned himself in to the sheriff’s office after learning there was a warrant out for his arrest. He was immediately released on $5,000 bond.According to a published report, when questioned about the charges Bensimon told the Aspen Daily News, “Some people put some drugs in my glass. I was not conscious for the day that I was there and I don’t understand what’s coming up now. I did not do anything.” He declined to comment The Aspen Times contacted him.
But on Monday, Bensimon released a statement through his attorney saying, “There has been a misunderstanding concerning the events that occurred at the Costner wedding. Mr. Bensimon and his attorney are working diligently to resolve this matter quickly.”John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org