A photographer who took topless photos of Cameron Diaz (search) and tried to sell them back to her for $3.5 million after she became a movie star was sentenced Thursday to three years and eight months in prison.

John Rutter (search), convicted in July of forgery, attempted grand theft and perjury, continued to insist in court that he did nothing wrong.

Rutter told Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor that the case was a "misunderstanding" and he "never intended to do any harm."

The judge rejected his request for probation. Diaz did not attend the sentencing.

Diaz was a 19-year-old aspiring model when the pictures were taken in 1992. She posed in leather boots and fishnet stockings in a warehouse. At one point she held a chain attached to a male model's neck.

Rutter testified during his two-week trial that he gave Diaz two days to pay him $3.5 million for the photos before he shopped them to prospective buyers for a campaign timed to coincide with the 2003 release of her film "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

But he said he was only offering her the right of first refusal, not trying to blackmail her.

Diaz testified that Rutter told her the buyers were "going to use this against you" by portraying her as a "bad angel" in a huge magazine spread and bus and billboard ad campaign. When he wouldn't identify the purported buyers, she contacted authorities.

The topless photos have never been published, and a judge has prohibited Rutter from releasing either them or a video of the shoot.

Rutter also acknowledged Diaz's signature appeared to be forged on a model release form he showed the actress, but he insisted he wasn't the one who committed the forgery.