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Pistorius team denies claim he took acting lesson

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By USA Today
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 6:18 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Oscar Pistorius angrily denied claims by a South African journalist that the double-amputee Olympian took acting lessons before testifying at his murder trial.

Jani Allan, in an open letter to Pistorius on her blog, says she has it “from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court. Your coach has an impossible task.”

Allan later told The Sunday People, a British publication, that she obtained her information from “extremely reliable sources” that Pistorius was being coached by a famous “close actor friend.”

Anneliese Burgess, spokeswoman for the Pistorius family, said in a statement on Tuesday that Allan's “suggestion that Mr. Pistorius ‘took acting lessons' is totally devoid of any truth.” She added that Pistorius has never met Allan.

Pistorius, 27, frequently sobbed and sometimes appeared to vomit in court in the days leading up to his testimony. He cried often while on the witness stand.

“We deny in the strongest terms the contents of her letter in as far it relates to our client and further deny that our client has undergone any ‘acting lessons' or any form of emotional coaching,” Burgess said. “This type of comment makes a mockery of the enormous human tragedy involving the Steenkamp family and our client and his family.”

Pistorius is accused of fatally shooting Reeva Steenkamp, an actress and model, in the predawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who grilled Pistorius for five days in a South Africa courtroom, repeatedly dismissed claims from the so-called Blade Runner that he was terrified an intruder was hiding in his bathroom and accidentally shot Steenkamp.

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