- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors charged Mel Gibson on Friday with misdemeanor spousal battery after a lengthy investigation into a fight with his then-girlfriend at the actor’s Malibu home.

The complaint accuses Gibson of “willfully and unlawfully” using force and violence against Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian musician.

In a separate decision, prosecutors said they found insufficient evidence to charge Grigorieva with trying to extort Gibson.

The actor made the allegation during custody negotiations with Grigorieva after their breakup last year.

Gibson, 55, was scheduled to appear in court later in the day on the battery charge.

A source familiar with the case has said Gibson will accept a plea agreement to resolve the case stemming from a January 2010 dispute.

The person was not authorized to discuss details of the agreement and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Gibson was not expected to serve jail time as a result of the charge.

His attorney Blair Berk said in a statement released earlier this week that Gibson opted to end the case without fighting it because of the potential impact on his children, including his infant daughter with Grigorieva.

“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,” Berk’s statement reads.

The battery charge was another blow to Gibson’s reputation, which took a major hit after his 2006 arrest for drunken driving. A deputy’s report leaked to the celebrity website TMZ revealed the action star had used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

His conviction was later expunged.

Recordings leaked last year during his custody battle with Grigorieva also contained racist and sexist taunts by the actor during a series of tirades.

Gibson has not publicly addressed the recordings, which were given to sheriff’s investigators and widely circulated by the celebrity website RadarOnline.

The charges came a week before Gibson’s latest film, “The Beaver,” is due to premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. It is only the second major film that Gibson has starred in since 2002.

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