Mel Gibson reaches plea deal in domestic abuse case

LOS ANGELES Wed Mar 9, 2011 3:22pm EST

Actor Mel Gibson poses during a photocall for the film ''Edge of Darkness'' by director Martin Campbell in Paris February 4, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Actor Mel Gibson poses during a photocall for the film ''Edge of Darkness'' by director Martin Campbell in Paris February 4, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Mel Gibson is expected to plead no contest to a charge of battery and avoid jail time for the domestic abuse claim made by his ex-girlfriend, a source close to the case told Reuters on Wednesday.

Celebrity news website TMZ.com, citing unidentified people connected to the Los Angeles District Attorney, reported that the "Braveheart" actor and director will appear in court on Friday to enter his plea, which is equivalent to guilty.

He made the deal to avoid a prolonged court battle that would be a strain on his family, TMZ and others said.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office declined to comment on the TMZ report, but Gibson's attorney, Blair Berk, issued a statement saying he had asked her to approach officials with a deal to end the matter.

"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," Berk said. "That is particularly so for Mel, whose right to due process can only be exercised in this case with an enormous media circus attached."

"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," Berk said in her statement. "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."

Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who is the mother of his infant daughter Lucia, have been at odds for well over a year, leading them to end their affair in April, 2010. Since then, they have waged a bitter custody battle over Lucia and made claims and counterclaims against each other.

Grigorieva has alleged that Gibson punched her and knocked out her teeth during an argument in January, 2010. Last summer, audiotapes of a man widely believed to be Gibson were posted on celebrity website Radaronline.com, and on them, the man rants at Grigorieva making racial slurs and sexist comments.

For his part, Gibson has claimed that Grigorieva used the audiotapes to try to extort a better settlement from him over their breakup -- a deal that has been reported to be valued as high as $20 million.

In February this year, Los Angeles County Sheriffs finished their investigation into the claims and gave the case to prosecutors. No charges have been filed against either party.

But the tapes damaged Gibson's Hollywood career, which already had suffered a major setback following anti-Semitic remarks he made during a drunk driving arrest in 2006.

Following the release of the audiotapes on Radaronline, Gibson's long-time agent dropped him. The opening of a movie he made, "The Beaver," was delayed and the cast of another film in which he was scheduled to appear, refused to work with him.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (1)
karojen wrote:
It is obvious that Gibson is one of those unfortunates who exemplify, “Add Alcohol, Instant A**8ole”. However, he needs treatment and not jail.

IF he really knocked out that gold digger’s teeth, where are the medical reports, the ER visits or the dental bills? She couldn’t produce anything.

If Charlie Sheen [shudder at the name] can hold a knife to his wife’s throat and threaten to kill her and then threaten to cut her head off and has hit her [with pics of her to prove it] then why not him?? He’s made racial slurs and he is a much worse jerk and has been for his entire life than Mel in recent years.

Mel’s wife of 30+ testified he was not abusive in their marriage.

Mel has been beloved and a very respected actor and director for decades, while what has Sheen done? He’s played “Sheen” in every role he’s had and abused his wives.

I do not condone any form of abuse, but where’s the proof? People say very nasty, hateful and threatening things in the heat of a bust up, look at Alec Balwin’s VM to his daughter.

I’ve said things that I’d never want publicized. Haven’t we all? In Gibson’s place, with that woman holding his daughter hostage for the big bucks and seeing how unbalanced she is and knowing what a huge, huge mistake he made in having a child with her, I’d be murderous too, especially if she is threatening his daughter.

I still appreciate Mel as an actor and I hope he gets help for his drinking. As far as his racial prejudices go, well he is what he is, not everyone likes everyone else. It’s world-wide, who is to tell another that they can’t have opinions? Yes, he should keep them to himself, but actually I don’t universally love every member of every race and religion unilaterally either, so sue me.

Mar 09, 2011 6:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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