PRETORIA, South Africa April 21, 2014 -- Oscar Pistorius, who has cried, wailed and vomited through his murder trial for the shooting death of his girlfriend, denied an allegation today that he was tutored by an acting coach before the trial began.
The "suggestion that Mr. Pistorius “took acting lessons” is totally devoid of any truth," said a statement released by Anneliese Burgess, identified as the media manager for the Pistorius family. The statement went on to "further deny that our client has undergone any 'acting lessons' or any form of emotional coaching."
"This type of comment makes a mockery of the enormous human tragedy involving the Steenkamp family and our client and his family," Burgess said.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with shooting his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, before dawn on Valentine's Day 2013. He maintains he mistook her for a burglar when she went to the bathroom during the night and has pleaded not guilty. He could face at least 25 years in prison if convicted of murder.
The trial has been marked by Pistorius' emotional reactions that have ranged from plugging his ears with his fingers during detailed descriptions of Steenkamp's wounds, to vomiting several times in a bucket when photos of his dead girlfriend were displayed. His loud sobbing has been so uncontrollable at times that court was adjourned to allow Pistorius time to compose himself.
The accusation that Pistorius took acting lessons before the trial was leveled by former South African columnist Jani Allan who claimed on her blog and reportedly told the Sunday People that a “reliable source” told her Pistorius had been taking acting classes for his days in court from a close actor friend. Allan did not identify the alleged coach and ABC News has not been able to confirm her claim.
"Ms. Allen has never met Oscar Pistorius and any knowledge she professes to have of our client can only be described as fictitious," Burgess said.