Mel Gibson charged with misdemeanour

2011-03-12 07:34

Los Angeles – Prosecutors charged US actor Mel Gibson yesterday with misdemeanour spousal battery after a lengthy investigation into a fight with his then-girlfriend Gibson’s Malibu home.

The complaint accuses Gibson of “wilfully and unlawfully” using force and violence against Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian musician.

In a separate decision, prosecutors said they found insufficient evidence to charge Grigorieva with trying to extort Gibson.

The actor made the allegation during custody negotiations with Grigorieva after their breakup last year.

Gibson (55) was scheduled to appear in court later in the day on the battery charge.

A source familiar with the case has said the actor-director will accept a plea agreement to resolve the case stemming from a dispute in January last year.

The person was not authorised to discuss details of the agreement and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Gibson was not expected to serve jail time as a result of the charge.

His attorney Blair Berk said in a statement released earlier this week that Gibson opted to end the case without fighting it because of the potential impact on his children, including his infant daughter with Grigorieva.

“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,” Berk’s statement reads.

The battery charge was another blow to Gibson’s reputation, which took a major hit after his 2006 arrest for drunken driving.

A deputy’s report leaked to the celebrity website TMZ revealed the action star had used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.
His conviction was later expunged.

Recordings leaked last year during his custody battle with Grigorieva also contained racist and sexist taunts by the actor during a series of tirades.

Gibson has not publicly addressed the recordings, which were given to sheriff’s investigators and widely circulated by the celebrity website RadarOnline.com.

The charges came a week before Gibson’s latest film, The Beaver, is due to premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. It is only the second major film that Gibson has starred in since 2002.

He portrays a deeply troubled man able to communicate only through a beaver puppet in the film directed by Jodie Foster.

Although Gibson’s prominence as an actor has diminished, he has remained a Hollywood fixture and drawn audiences as a director.

His relationship with Grigorieva helped return Gibson to the limelight, with the pair appearing on red carpets and award shows. Gibson confirmed her pregnancy on The Tonight Show.

Grigorieva (40) has a teenage son with British actor Timothy Dalton.

Gibson is suspected of striking her on January 6 2010, although she did not report it until months later.

The Sheriff’s Department opened its investigation in July, and later began its probe into the extortion allegation made by Gibson.

By then, the pair had broken up and reached a confidential custody agreement regarding their daughter Lucia.

Although the exact details are not public, Gibson’s attorney said last year the actor was paying for a house and car for Grigorieva along with child care.

The former couple has appeared opposite each other several times in a family law court that has heard issues related to child care, financial issues and evidence in the criminal investigations of both parents.

Grigorieva’s attorneys lauded the decision to not charge her with extortion, saying the conclusion was reached “after very careful consideration of all the facts and with complete fairness to all involved”.

Grigorieva never invoked her constitutional rights to not answer investigators’ questions and turned over numerous confidential documents, according to a statement issued to the Associated Press by her lawyers Daniel Horowitz, Ronald Litz and Martin Garbus.

“Ms Grigorieva will now concentrate on co-parenting Lucia, resuming her charitable work for the children of Chernobyl and moving forward with her life,” the statement said, declining further comment.

Grigorieva has helped raise funds for Chernobyl Children’s Project International which helps victims of the 1986 nuclear accident in Ukraine.

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