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Charlie Sheen pleads guilty to Aspen assault
Question of the Day
ASPEN, COLO. (AP) - Charlie Sheen pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting his wife during a Christmas Day argument in exchange for a plea deal with no jail time and more serious charges dropped.
The “Two and a Half Men” actor was sentenced to 30 days in a rehabilitation center, 30 days of probation and 36 hours of anger management. He has 30 days to make arrangements for his sentence at Promises Treatment Center in California, though whether he will have to report there remains in question.
Sheen’s attorney, Yale Galanter, said the actor already has spent 93 days at Promises this year and that the center could choose to credit that time toward his sentence.
“Credit for time served is absolutely on the table,” Galanter said. “How much credit he gets is up to Promises.”
The center declined to comment, citing client privacy, and said it was not unusual for those with drug and alcohol offenses to be sentenced to rehabilitation there.
Sheen’s plea agreement called for Colorado prosecutors to drop a felony menacing charge and a criminal mischief charge in exchange for pleading guilty to a count of misdemeanor assault. The charges stem from a Christmas Day 2009 dispute with Brooke Mueller Sheen.
Sheen was scheduled to plead guilty at a hearing in June, but that hit a snag over terms of a proposed work release program. Galanter had said that a previous agreement called for Sheen to serve 30 days in the Pitkin County jail in Aspen.
District Attorney Martin Beeson said Sheen has no criminal record in Colorado and allowing him to avoid jail time was not unusual. He also said that the plea carries several long-term consequences that include Sheen not being able to possess firearms.
Ninth District Judicial Judge James Boyd gave Sheen credit for time spent in anger management classes. Richard Cummins, another Sheen attorney, said Sheen already completed 36 hours of anger management classes in California, though it would be up to the 9th Judicial District probation department to determine whether those can be applied to his Colorado case.
Sheen, dressed in a dark suit, shirt and purple tie, entered the county courthouse after waving and blowing kisses to the crowd outside, and flashing a peace sign. Inside the courtroom, he smiled and thanked a supporter who said, “We love you.”
“I’m very grateful to the court and to the people of Pitkin County,” he said in a statement after the hearing. “I look forward to complying with the court’s decision, getting on with my life and putting this behind me.”
In handing down the sentence, Boyd said that allowing Sheen to focus on what happened and why it happened “is the best opportunity for the community to be safe.”
Brooke Mueller Sheen had told police that the actor threatened to kill her and brandished a knife after she told him she wanted a divorce. Charlie Sheen said they had argued but denied threatening her.
Sheen told police he was upset by the divorce threat. He previously went through a bitter divorce and custody battle with his ex-wife Denise Richards.
Within a week of Sheen’s arrest, he and Mueller Sheen both said they wanted to reconcile. In February, they hugged in an Aspen courtroom after a judge modified a restraining order that kept them from contacting each other.
Since the incident, both have completed alcohol rehab programs, and Galanter has said they’ve been sober for months.
Gloria Allred, the Los Angeles attorney of a former Aspen police officer who responded to Sheen’s dispute, said after the hearing that she was appalled. She said an appropriate sentenced would have been jail time.
“Spousal assault and battery is a very serious crime and needs to have serious consequences,” Allred said. “The only thing missing from his sentence is the red carpet as he goes on probation with adoring fans and applause.”
It was not the first run-in with the law for Sheen, the star of films such as “Platoon,” “Wall Street” and “Hot Shots!” He agreed last month to return to “Two and a Half Men” for two more seasons.
In December 1996, he was charged with attacking a girlfriend at his Southern California home. He later pleaded no contest and was placed on two years of probation. Allred also represented the victim in that case.
In 1998, his father, actor Martin Sheen, turned him in for violating his parole after a cocaine overdose sent him to the hospital. He was ordered to undergo a rehabilitation program.
Associated Press entertainment writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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