Thursday, March 10, 2011
Mel Gibson takes plea deal, avoids jail in battery case
LOS ANGELES – Mel Gibson agreed to a plea deal Wednesday and will avoid jail over accusations he assaulted his former girlfriend, according to media reports.
Gibson will plead no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge in the deal and will undergo counseling but will not face any jail time, TMZ.com reported. He is expected in court Friday to enter his plea, sources told the celebrity website.
Gibson's former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, claimed the actor punched her twice in the head and broke two of her teeth as she held their 17-month-old daughter Lucia during a January 6 domestic dispute.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation into the incident that came to light last summer as the feuding exes engaged in a bitter custody battle for the girl.
"I know from almost 20 years as a criminal defense lawyer that sometimes justice can come for a client at too high a personal price," Gibson's lawyer, Blair Berk, said in a statement.
"That is particularly so for Mel, whose right to due process can only be exercised in this case with an enormous media circus attached," he continued.
"Mel's priority throughout all of this has been that the best interests of his young daughter Lucia and the rest of his children be put first in any decisions made. It is with only that in mind that he asked me to approach the District Attorney with a proposal that would bring all of this to an immediate end," the statement added.
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is said to be furious that Mel Gibson's camp announced the actor's plea deal in the alleged assault of his former girlfriend, Radaronline.com reported Wednesday.
Sources close to the DA's office said the victim, Gibson's former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, was supposed to be notified of the case's outcome before any statement was sent to the media.
Gibson was married to his first wife Robyn for 28 years and the couple had seven children together. They filed for divorce in April 2009 though the split is not yet finalized.