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Will Charlie Sheen bargain or battle in felony court date?

March 12, 2010 | 12:42 pm

Will Charlie Sheen cut a deal with prosecutors, or is he ready to fight to clear his name? That’s the question as the sitcom star’s court date looms Monday.

Facing a felony charge from a Christmas Day incident in Aspen, Colo., when his wife called 911 to say the actor was threatening her life, Sheen is facing the endgame of a scandal that has threatened to engulf his career.

According to TMZ, the celebrity website that has followed the case on a near-daily basis, Sheen is preparing to plead no contest to a misdemeanor in exchange for prosecutors dropping the felony menacing charge and would also submit to anger management classes. But prosecutors aren’t necessarily eager to cut a deal, according to the website, which relied on unnamed sources.

RadarOnline, TMZ’s gossip archrival, takes a different tack, asserting that Sheen will try to beat the rap by attacking the credibility of one of the arresting officers, who has since been sacked from the police force for alleged violations of departmental policies unconnected to the Sheen incident.

Sheen’s spokesman Stan Rosenfield would not comment directly on the case but said without elaboration that the online reports contained "both accurate and inaccurate" information. The only purpose of Monday’s court date, he added, is for his client to enter a formal plea.

"Charlie will be in court on the 15th and back at work on the 16th," Rosenfield said.

Production on "Two and a Half Men," his No. 1-rated CBS sitcom, has meanwhile been thrown up in the air. The show was forced to shut down suddenly last month when Sheen went into rehab as a "preventative measure." He finally returned to work earlier this week to start shooting one of this season’s last few remaining episodes. Rosenfield has sought to minimize the notion of a disruption.

"Since all days he was not able to go to work because he was in rehab will be made up, he has not missed any work days," he said. CBS would not comment on the case.

As damaging as Sheen’s problems may be in the short term, many experts do not expect them to have much effect on the rest of his career, especially given his personal history, which has included previous drug use and a notorious appearance in the "black book" of Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.

"Sheen’s career can recover yet again," said Jeffrey McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University. "It’s not like he’s been a model citizen in the past, so this latest problem should not shock anybody.

"American audiences are very forgiving and seem to be OK with flawed celebrities."

-Scott Collins (follow me on Twitter @scottcollinsLAT)

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