NEW YORK – Supermodel-turned-TV host Tyra Banks, facing the man accused of stalking her, testified Wednesday that she feared for her safety when she learned he had entered the New York City building where she tapes her show.
Banks, 35, said her staff would not let her leave the building on March 18, 2008, because defendant Brady Green, a stranger to her, had shown up.
"I was about to leave and a bunch of people from my staff were saying, like, 'No, you can't leave.' They said he was in the building," Banks testified.
Banks said that her staff had previously shown her Green's photograph, told her he had threatened one of her employees and was "somebody I should watch out for."
When police arrived, the former Sports Illustrated cover girl said, "I told them I was scared. I didn't know what to do. How do I live my life when I leave this building? I had never experienced anything like this before."
Police arrested Green, of Dublin, Ga., in a McDonald's near Banks' studio in Manhattan's Chelsea section.
Police said he told them that he had come from Los Angeles on a bus to see Banks and that "we had a thing together."
Green, 38, is on trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on misdemeanor charges of stalking, harassment and criminal trespass.
He is accused of repeatedly calling Banks' studio, in addition to showing up there, and sending her flowers and letters.
Green faces as many as 90 days in jail if convicted by Judge James Burke, who is hearing the case without a jury.
Calm and smiling frequently as she testified, Banks said security "has changed significantly" around her and her workplaces because of Green.
She said that her company has hired more security staff and that her studio audiences are vetted more thoroughly.
Banks said she is now followed everywhere by security guards, even when she runs and exercises outdoors. She said that even though she is a public person, "I don't live that kind of sheltered, protected life. I like to walk around."
Assistant District Attorney Sean McMahon asked Banks whether Green's behavior made her fearful.
"I don't fear for my life," the statuesque TV host said. "I fear for my safety. I fear for the safety of my staff and for my family. And I fear for the safety of people in my vicinity, who I'm with."
On cross-examination, Green's lawyer, Jeffrey Berman, portrayed his client as an overly zealous fan of talk shows in general and Banks in particular. He noted that Banks' Web site encouraged fans to write to her.
Berman's questions also stressed that Green never tried to contact Banks at her homes, never contacted her family and never asked her to marry him.
Green was expected to testify in his own defense later in the day.
Banks is executive producer and host of two popular TV shows, "America's Next Top Model" and "The Tyra Banks Show."