Shania Twain Testifies Against Accused Stalker

Canadian country star Shania Twain testified Friday that she has compassion for a man accused of stalking her but remains concerned that he will continue to pursue her.

Giovanni Palumbo has been charged with three counts of failure to comply with a court order and criminal harassment.

He had pleaded not guilty earlier this week but after listening to testimony Friday from Twain, Palumbo’s lawyer told court that his client would plead guilty to both charges.

Lawyer Gary Barnes said that hearing Twain’s heartfelt testimony stirred a revelation in Palumbo.

“He realized: ‘My God, I have upset her,’“ Barnes told reporters after court had adjourned for the day.

The former Ottawa doctor allegedly sent 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, Barnes said during Twain’s cross-examination that Palumbo simply didn’t realize that Twain wasn’t interested.

But 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,” she said. “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, Twain said nothing she heard at the trial made her feel differently about Palumbo.

“I still have the fear and anxiety of being contacted in the future by Mr. Palumbo. And I do want it to stop,” she said.

For the second day in a row, the process seemed to become too much for Palumbo, who was clad on Friday in a rumpled black suit and navy slip-on sneakers.

Twain was recounting the contents of numerous letters allegedly sent to her by 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 Twain.

“It is very emotional for everybody,” Palumbo said, addressing the judge. “Please understand I have emotions, very strong emotions.”

However, later Friday, his lawyer said Palumbo realized how his actions affected 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.”

Photo: Jason Moore
CMA Music Festival, Nashville, Tenn.

Palumbo has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. He has another court date on Oct. 18 when – depending on the outcome of the psych evaluation – he could be sentenced.