Giovanni Palumbo, the man accused of stalking country singer Shania Twain has pleaded guilty.
Giovanni Palumbo has been charged with three counts of failure to comply with a court order and criminal harassment.
Stalker had pleaded not guilty earlier this week but after listening to testimony Friday from Shania Twain, Palumbo’s lawyer told court that his client would plead guilty to both charges.
Lawyer Gary Barnes said that hearing Shania Twain’s heartfelt testimony, in which she said she felt compassion but was still scared of Giovanni Palumbo, stirred a revelation in him.
“He realized, <<My God, I have upset her>>”, lawyer Gary Barnes told reporters after court had adjourned for the day.
Giovanni Palumbo, a former Ottawa doctor, allegedly sent Shania Twain a series of letters, made unwanted visits to her family cottage in Ontario and even attended her grandmother’s funeral before being arrested at a Canadian awards ceremony this year.
Before he pleaded guilty Friday, lawyer Gary Barnes said during Shania Twain’s cross-examination that Palumbo simply didn’t realize that the singer wasn’t interested.
But Shania Twain, appearing via video link from an undisclosed location in Europe, didn’t see it that way.
“I’m torn emotionally because I have compassion for anybody who’s reaching out in need – fans often do that.
“I feel very sad … and awkward having to go through these very personal matters with Mr. Palumbo because it’s such an invasion of his privacy.”
However, Shania Twain said nothing she heard at the trial made her feel differently about Giovanni Palumbo.
“I still have the fear and anxiety of being contacted in the future by Mr. Palumbo. And I do want it to stop.”
Shania Twain was recounting the contents of numerous letters allegedly sent to her by Giovanni Palumbo when the former doctor leapt to his feet and addressed the court loudly.
“But I didn’t know you received any of them – you understand?” yelled Palumbo, alluding to why he persisted in corresponding with Shania Twain.
“It is very emotional for everybody,” Giovanni Palumbo said, addressing the judge.
“Please understand I have emotions, very strong emotions.”
However, lawyer Gary Barnes said his client realized how his actions affected Shania Twain.
“My client (thought), <<I have made her afraid of me, and it’s reasonable, her fears are reasonable.>>
“He’s devastated that she’s afraid. He never intended for her to fear at all – the absolute opposite. He loves her.”
Giovanni Palumbo has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.
Palumbo has another court date on October 18 when – depending on the outcome of the psychiatric evaluation – he could be sentenced.