Actor Kiefer Sutherland dodges headbutt charge

LOS ANGELES Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:22pm EDT

Cast member of ''24'' Keifer Sutherland poses at a screening of the season finale of Fox television drama series ''24'' season seven in Los Angeles, California May 12, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Cast member of ''24'' Keifer Sutherland poses at a screening of the season finale of Fox television drama series ''24'' season seven in Los Angeles, California May 12, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Kiefer Sutherland will avoid a return trip to a Los Angeles jail after prosecutors determined a recent altercation with a fashion designer was not serious enough to violate his probation for drunken driving, an official said on Tuesday.

The decision by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office came after the New York District Attorney declined to pursue criminal charges against the star of popular U.S. television show "24," the official said.

In May, fashion designer Jack McCollough told police Sutherland had headbutted him at a hotel bar in the Soho area of New York. Sutherland surrendered to police and was released while authorities investigated.

The incident raised the question of whether Sutherland would be charged for violating his probation stemming from his 2007 arrest in Los Angeles on drunken driving charges.

Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney, told Reuters his office has decided not to accuse Sutherland of violating probation after talking to New York prosecutors and reviewing the evidence.

Sutherland spent 48 days in jail after his 2007 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol in Los Angeles, which came when he was already on probation for a prior drunken driving violation.

Sutherland is the son of actor Donald Sutherland, and he starred in the 2002 movie "Phone Booth" and the 1998 film "Dark City." He plays anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer in "24."

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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