Photographer: Topless Aniston 'Exposed Herself'

Dec. 6, 2005 — -- The photographer who snapped topless photos of actress Jennifer Aniston says he never intended to sell them, but he admits exclusively to ABC News that sending them to publications along with other pictures was "maybe my mistake."

Even so, Peter Brandt says that the former "Friends" star should take some responsibility. "She's the one who went out there topless," he said in an interview with ABC News Radio's David Blaustein. "I didn't go looking for it."

"I haven't sold those pictures anywhere," Brandt said. "You know, they're suing me and all the publications who are publishing them, and I haven't sold them anywhere."

"What I was trying to sell was the pictures of [actor] Vince [Vaughn] and her ... Sending the topless pictures along with [the other photos] was maybe my mistake," he said. "But I wasn't intending to sell those."

The lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that Brandt invaded Aniston's privacy by using a telephoto lens to photograph the 36-year-old star "from a great distance through invasive, intrusive and unlawful measures."

'I'm Not a Skin Flick Person'

Brandt denies he broke the law, and claims that the incident took place at Aniston's Hollywood Hills home three weeks ago, and not at her more secluded residence in Malibu, as some accounts have suggested. He claims he was standing on a public street, about 300 yards from her house, hoping to get shots of Aniston with Vaughn, who is reported to be dating the actress.

"She has no fences around her backyard," he said. "I did not trespass."

"When I saw her come out topless, I go, 'Oh, God, this is not what I want, this is not what people want to buy anyway,'" he said.

Brandt says he sent out all the pictures he took to a handful of publications, never intending to sell the ones that have caused the scandal.

"I didn't figure anyone was going to buy topless pictures because that's tough to sell," he said.

"I only sent it to five or six different editors ... OK, maybe I shouldn't have sent the topless pictures but, you know, I have them and when you sit on something that big, I'm not going to make editorial judgment. I'm a photographer, editorial judgment is done by the magazine."

Brandt, 53, describes himself as an editorial photographer with 25 years of professional experience. He says he could have easily sold the topless photos to an adult magazine but didn't do so.

"They probably would've jumped on it in five seconds," he said. "I'm a photojournalist, I'm not a 'skin flick' person. But she happened to show up in my lens. What am I supposed to do?"

But even now, after Aniston filed a lawsuit, Brandt says he'd be within his rights if he wanted to publish the topless photos. "I didn't think I did anything illegal," he said.

"She exposed herself to everybody in the neighborhood," he said. "I happened to have a camera so I wouldn't have had a problem."

Brandt's celebrity photos have appeared in People magazine and the New York Post, among other publications. He says he once worked for The National Enquirer, but he says he's grown to loathe paparazzi photographers.

"There is a group out there today who are extremely aggressive and I hate them, I'll say that to you," he said. "They have made the so-called paparazzi business as it is, the worst that it's ever been.

According to Aniston's lawsuit, the photos "could have been taken only by means of trespass" and were shot in a place where she had reasonable expectations of privacy. Her lawyer John Lavely didn't return a call to ABC News Tuesday to respond to this claim.

The actress previously sued a different photographer for allegedly scaling a neighbor's 8-foot wall and photographing her sunbathing topless in her backyard. The photos ran in several publications.

Francois Navarre, owner of Los Angeles paparazzi agency X-17 paid Aniston $550,000 two years ago to settle an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit but didn't admit to any wrongdoing.

In her case against Brandt, Aniston is seeking monetary damages and a court order to stop Brandt and anyone else from making money from the photos.