Court upholds Baumgartner fine for punching man

VIENNA Tue Nov 6, 2012 10:07am EST

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner failed to have a conviction for assault overturned on Tuesday and has apologized through his lawyer for punching a Greek truck driver in a 2010 incident, a court spokeswoman said.

Baumgartner, the skydiver who made headlines around the world last month after jumping from a balloon near the edge of space, lost his appeal against a 1,500 euro ($1,900) fine for hitting the driver during a traffic jam near Salzburg.

"He apologized and was convicted in absentia with the consent of his attorney. The matter is now finished," the spokeswoman for the appellate court in Salzburg said.

Baumgartner, 43, contended he was acting in self-defense when he hit the truck driver, his lawyer said last week.

Baumgartner parachuted from a balloon high above the Earth last month, setting a record for the highest skydive and breaking the sound barrier in the process.

But in Austria, the apparent road rage incident has generated less welcome publicity on the ground.

Austrian papers have quoted the truck driver, identified only as Dimitrios P, as saying he had given Baumgartner only a slight push and had got a fist in the face in return.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Paul Casciato)

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