Mel Gibson pleads no contest; Oksana Grigorieva off the hook [Poll]
Mel Gibson entered a no contest plea in L.A. Superior Court Friday, shortly after the district attorney's office charged him with one misdemeanor count of battery against ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
To end a drama that went public shortly after the couple broke up last April, Gibson will be on informal probation for 36 months but will serve no jail time -- the one-year sentence for battery on a spouse, cohabitant or parent of a child was suspended.
Grigorieva, who had been present throughout depositions and more, was neither identified by name in court nor appeared at the hearing, held at the Airport Courthouse. The district attorney's office also announced Friday it would not charge her with attempted extortion, citing insufficient evidence turned up in the investigation.
The Oscar winner also was ordered to continue mental-health counseling for 52 weeks, complete a 52-week domestic violence course, do 16 hours of community service and pay some nominal fines. He also must obey the terms of an order of protection preventing him from annoying, threatening or using force or violence against anyone involved in the case.
All of this was related, of course, to that Jan. 6 altercation in which his ex-girlfriend said he hit her while she was holding their child Lucia -- and to the infamous tapes of Gibson ranting at Grigorieva.
In a sworn statement related to their custody case, Mel on June 21 had admitted striking Oksana with an open hand during the Jan. 6 argument in what he said was an attempt to shock her into paying attention while she was endangering Lucia.
Gibson's attorney Blair Berk announced Wednesday that a plea deal had been worked out, in what he thought were the best interests of his children. Though the actor pleaded no contest Friday, he still maintains that he is innocent.
"We out of here?" Gibson quietly asked Berk at the end of the hearing Friday. "We are," she replied. The actor acknowledged the judge and then headed out of the courtroom.
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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Mel Gibson arrives at Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters