The insatiable appetite for all things celebrity has guided the paparazzi to some extremes, but it was the shutterbugs themselves who allegedly blew the whistle on two Ohio police chiefs accused of trying to sell information about "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker's surrogate.
Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter and Bridgeport Police Chief Chad Dojack were arraigned Friday on several charges in connection with a burglary that occurred at Parker's surrogate's Bridgeport, Ohio, home in mid-May.
"What we have here is an allegation that three gentlemen consipired to break into the house of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick's surrogate mother," Shawn Hervey, the prosecuting attorney for Harrison County, Ohio told "Good Morning America" today.
Hervey said that photographers were staying at the same hotel as Dojack's father-in-law, "and they approached the father-in-law for information and he set them up with the police chiefs."
Authorities believed the men hoped to sell information about the surrogate, identified as Michelle Ross, to the tabloids.
When the officers allegedly approached paparazzi to sell the information, the celebrity photographers tipped off the surrogate, who then went to state authorities.
Carpenter faces two counts of burglary, one count of receiving stolen property, one count of theft in office, one count of unauthorized use of property or services and one count of tampering with evidence. Dojack is charged with two counts of complicity to burglary and one count of complicity to receiving stolen property.
Both men pleaded not guilty and are free on their own recognizance.
"Up until we had the arraignments on Friday they were still on duty," Hervey said. "Now there are proceedeings against at least one of them for removal."
Parker, who is no stranger to the paparazzi's prying eye, expressed her displeasure at the invasion of her family's privacy.
"The most unsavory things have been done," Parkertold "Access Hollywood." "She's had her phone hacked, her personal computer information hacked, she's had threats against her and true harassment. ... She's had friends threatened and family threatened and she's had family of friends threatened," the 44-year-old said of the surrogate.
"There's a lot of shock in the community," Hervey said. "And a little bit of embarrassment."
"I think with the gravity of the charges ... I expect this matter to go to trial," he said.
Other Celebrity Invasions of Privacy
Parker's and 47-year-old husband Matthew Broderick's twin girls, Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge, were born in Ohio in June through a surrogate. The superstar couple already has a 6-year-old son.
The family's case is just the latest high-profile privacy invasion.
Recently, ESPN correspondent Erin Andrews became a tabloid target after someone posted video of her unclothed in a hotel room on the Internet.
When the late Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer, a hospital worker allegedly sold her medical records for $4,000. Fawcett was so fed up she set up a sting operation.
"I set it up with the doctor. I said, 'OK, you know and I know.' So I knew that if it came out, it was coming from UCLA. And I couldn't believe how fast it came out. You know? Maybe four days," Fawcett explained at the time.
The hospital found that an employee had tapped into Fawcett's information more often than her own doctors had. Fawcett asked the hospital for the employee's name, but it refused to give it to her.
Eventually, after months of requests, UCLA gave Fawcett's lawyers the name of the administrative specialist who had gone through her records, the Los Angeles Times reported. Just as the hospital moved to fire Lawanda Jackson in July 2007, she quit, the paper said.
Prosecutors said the National Enquirer had paid the employee more than $4,600 for the actress's medical information, beginning in 2006. The checks were made out to Jackson's husband.
Jackson pleaded guilty in December to a felony charge of violating federal medical privacy laws for commercial purposes, but she died in March of cancer before she could be sentenced.