Greeting judge and jurors with a friendly “Hi!,” Kirsten Dunst served as a star witness Thursday against a man charged in the theft of her designer purse while she was on a movie set.
The “Spider-Man” actress gave a matter-of-fact rundown of the Aug. 9, 2007, theft at the SoHo Grand Hotel. She was there on an overnight shoot for the 2008 comedy “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.”
James Jimenez, 35, is charged with burglary. His lawyer has blamed the incident on a co-defendant.
The case has offered a backstage look at the workaday details of moviemaking, with Dunst and co-star Simon Pegg describing the night of the theft down to their hours, midnight dinner (takeout from the high-end sushi purveyor Nobu) and visitors, including film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Dunst said that after shooting the night’s final scene, she returned around 5 a.m. to a penthouse suite that actors used to rest between takes. She found someone had taken her $2,000 Balenciaga bag and its contents, including $2,000 — a week’s worth of “petty cash” for daily expenses while filming, she explained.
The purse was eventually mailed back to her manager with her wallet and credit cards, but she never recovered the rest — the cash, sunglasses “and probably a lip balm,” Dunst, 27, said with a throaty laugh.
The purse was returned “a little wrecked” and torn inside, said Dunst, wearing a loose black tuxedo-style blouse, skinny black pants and spike heels. “I definitely had to get it fixed.”
Pegg testified that his cell phone, camera and iPod also disappeared from the suite, located on a floor designed to be accessible only with special key cards. Only the phone was returned, said the 39-year-old British actor, whose films include “Shaun of the Dead” and this year’s “Star Trek.”
The theft disrupted an otherwise congenial shoot, he said. When not on the set, “we were watching YouTube clips, chatting … it was a very amiable atmosphere,” he recalled.
Neither Dunst nor Pegg specifically pointed to Jimenez, but prosecutors have said he and co-defendant Jarrod Beinerman took advantage of the commotion surrounding the movie set to sneak around the hotel and into the suite. Beinerman was sentenced last September to 4 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted burglary.
Jimenez’s lawyer, Daniel Hupert, said during opening statements Tuesday that Beinerman misled his client into thinking they had a legitimate reason to be there.