Gwyneth Paltrow testifies in stalking case

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Actress Gwyneth Paltrow Takes the Stand In Stalker's Trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Gwyneth Paltrow testified Monday in the trial of a man accused of stalking her, saying he sent her upsetting letters discussing his intention to marry her, her death, pornography and unsolicited gifts.

Dante Soiu is accused of stalking the Oscar-winning actress for 17 years, but the case focuses on the most recent batch of 66 messages he's sent her between 2009 and 2015.

Paltrow was the first witness called and authenticated 48 of the letters, many of which contain religious messages and statements referencing Paltrow's death.

The actress broke down briefly Monday afternoon when a prosecutor asked Paltrow about whether she feared for her children's safety as a result of Soiu's missives.

"Yes," Paltrow responded tearfully. She quickly regained her composure and explained why she was so rattled by Soiu.

"I'm scared because the communications completely defy logic," she said. "I've been dealing with his -- for 17 years with the communications from this man."

See photos of Gwyneth Paltrow through the years:

24 PHOTOS
Gwyneth Paltrow through the years
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Gwyneth Paltrow testifies in stalking case
Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the amfAR Inspiration Gala at Milk Studios on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0194 -- Pictured: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow on January 14, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
CRUEL DOUBT -- Air Date 05/17/1992 -- Pictured: Gwyneth Paltrow as Angela Pritchard -- Photo by: Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank
Gwyneth Paltrow holds a phone in a scene from the film 'Moonlight And Valentino', 1995. (Photo by Gramercy Pictures/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 29: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 'Jefferson in Paris' New York City Premiere on March 29, 1995 at the Paris Theatre in New York City. (photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences private luncheon and viewing of the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition at the Wilshire May Company building on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Presenter Gwyneth Paltrow speaks onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 2014 amfAR Inspiration Gala at Milk Studios on Wednesday, Oct. 29, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 05: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at Hollywood Unites For The 4th Biennial Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), A Program Of The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) at Dolby Theatre on September 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Boss Women fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 at Skylight Limited on February 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Gwyneth Paltrow attends The Great American Songbook event honoring Bryan Lourd at Alice Tully Hall on February 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Lincoln Center)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 01: Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 49th Golden Camera Awards at Tempelhof Airport on February 1, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Luca Teuchmann/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing Diane Von Furstenberg, attends Diane Von Furstenberg's Journey of A Dress Exhibition Opening Celebration at May Company Building at LACMA West on January 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Diane Von Furstenberg)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Gwyneth Paltrow poses in the winners room at the British Fashion Awards 2013 at London Coliseum on December 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Matthew Williamson and Gwyneth Paltrow Kids Company dinner at aqua shard on November 25, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 07: Gwyneth Paltrow launches the Printemps Christmas Decorations Inauguration In Paris at Printemps Haussmann on November 7, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 'Thanks For Sharing' - Los Angeles Premiere at ArcLight Hollywood on September 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Thanks For Sharing' at ArcLight Cinemas on September 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 10: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow signs books during Authors Night For The East Hampton Library at Gardiner's Farm on August 10, 2013 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images for East Hampton Library)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends Meet The Developer at the Apple Store Soho on May 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4448 -- Pictured: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives on April 25, 2013 -- (Photo by: Stacie McChesney/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 24: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 'Iron Man 3' - Los Angeles Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Costume Institute Gala for the 'PUNK: Chaos to Couture' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/FilmMagic)
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In one of the recent packages Soiu sent Paltrow, he included clothes he wanted her to wear.

His lawyer said Soiu has simply written letters to Paltrow, and that recent letters haven't included pornography. Attorney Lynda Westlund said Soiu is a Christian man who is just trying to minister to the actress.

Paltrow testified about letters and packages she received from Soiu dating to 1999, including several that contained pornography, sex toys and statements that he wanted to cleanse her of sin.

"This is a case that has gone on for Ms. Paltrow for 17 years," Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall said during opening statements. "Her sense of security has been shattered by this man."

Paltrow, 43, remained mostly composed in the witness stand, showing concern on her face and wiping her eyes at one point during approximately an hour of testimony. Dressed in a white turtleneck and black slacks, she at one point identified Soiu, 66, who was wearing a blue shirt and gray sweater.

Soiu was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2000 in a previous trial involving messages he sent to Paltrow, which included pornography and sex toys. He was sent to a mental institution for several years, but re-arrested last year after sending the actress new correspondence.

The recent batch of letters described Soiu's intention to marry Paltrow and also a pair of earrings he sent her in 2009 as a Christmas gift. He has also sent her religious books, and forwarded her letters he has sent to President Barack Obama and actress Angelina Jolie.

See photos of Gwyneth Paltrow with Chris Martin over the years:
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Gwyneth Paltrow testifies in stalking case
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin attend the 3rd annual Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala benefiting J/P HRO presented by Giorgio Armani at Montage Beverly Hills on January 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization)
CULVER CITY, CA - JANUARY 28: Singer/Songwriter Chris Martin (L) and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend Hollywood Stands Up To Cancer Event with contributors American Cancer Society and Bristol Myers Squibb hosted by Jim Toth and Reese Witherspoon and the Entertainment Industry Foundation on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Entertainment Industry Foundation)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 26: General Views of Chris Martin And Gwyneth Paltrow's North London Home on March 26, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Neil P. Mockford/FilmMagic)
LONDON - JULY 02: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and daughter Apple watch Coldplay singer Chris Martin perform on stage at 'Live 8 London' in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005 in London, England. The free concert is one of ten simultaneous international gigs including Philadelphia, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barrie, Tokyo, Cornwall, Moscow and Johannesburg. The concerts precede the G8 summit (July 6-8) to raising awareness for MAKEpovertyHISTORY. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 27: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (L-R) Chris Martin, Jay-Z and Gwyneth Paltrow attend the after party following the concert by Jay-Z at The Royal Albert Hall, at Movida on September 27, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) on August 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LONDON - MAY 6: Heavily pregnant actress Gwyneth Paltrow covers her face as she leaves a yoga class in London on May 6, 2004 in London. Paltrow is married to Coldplay singer Chris Martin and the birth of their first child is imminent. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
KAUAI, HI - MAY 01: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are seen on May 01, 2003 in Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LONDON - JULY 02: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and daughter Apple watch Coldplay singer Chris Martin perform on stage at "Live 8 London" in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005 in London, England. The free concert is one of ten simultaneous international gigs including Philadelphia, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barrie, Tokyo, Cornwall, Moscow and Johannesburg. The concerts precede the G8 summit (July 6-8) to raising awareness for MAKEpovertyHISTORY. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Coldplay singer Chris Martin attends an exhibit known as 'The Innocents' at the Gogasian Gallery June 10, 2004 in London, England. The exhibit features images of men who were originally sentenced to long prison terms in the U.S., but then were ultimately found innocent. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
KAUAI, HI - MAY 01: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are seen on May 01, 2002 in Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
KAUAI, HI - MAY 01: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are seen on May 01, 2002 in Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
KAUAI, HI - MAY 01: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are seen on May 01, 2002 in Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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One letter described Paltrow "bowing to death." The actress said the reference was disturbing.

In another, Soiu is accused of writing, "I have a goal: to marry Gwyneth Paltrow and take care of her."

"I felt very upset by it," Paltrow said.

"This has been a very long and very traumatic experience already," Paltrow said.

At the top of another letter, Soiu is accused of writing, "I am sorry I hurt you. Please forgive me." Paltrow said she recognizes Soiu's handwriting after having received so much correspondence from him.

Paltrow won an Oscar in 1999 for her role in Shakespeare in Love. She has two children with estranged husband Chris Martin, the frontman of the band Coldplay.

The pair's divorce, filed in April 2015, is still pending.

Soiu, who is from suburban Columbus, Ohio, has pleaded not guilty. He shook his head during portions of Segall's opening statement, but has remained quiet throughout Paltrow's testimony Monday.

Her testimony came a day after Paltrow appeared at Super Bowl 50, cheering on estranged husband, Chris Martin, and his band Coldplay, and her friend Beyonce Knowles, during their halftime performance.

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