Mel Gibson pleads no contest to battery charge

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mel Gibson has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor spousal battery charge Friday, hours after it was filed.

He was sentenced to 36 months of probation and ordered to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling.

Gibson said little during the hearing except to acknowledge he understood the charge and plea.

Gibson, 55, was accused of striking then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a fight in January 2010.

The Russian musician did not attend the hearing but was represented by one of her attorneys.

The actor-director arrived in court accompanied by his attorney, Blair Berk, who has said Gibson sought to end the case after considering the case’s impact on his children, including an infant daughter with Grigorieva.

Prosecutors charged Gibson 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 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.

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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