- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors say they will not charge Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend with extortion after they found insufficient evidence to prove the allegation by the actor.

The decision was announced Friday, soon after prosecutors filed a misdemeanor battery charge against the Academy Award winner.

Attorneys for Oksana Grigorieva (gree-GOR’-yeh-vuh) say she cooperated fully with the investigation into extortion allegations by Gibson.

Attorneys Daniel Horowitz, Ronald Litz and Martin Garbus said in a statement released to The Associated Press that the Russian musician never invoked her Fifth Amendment rights during several interviews with authorities.

Gibson claimed Grigorieva attempted to extort him during custody negotiations involving their infant daughter after their breakup last year.

The attorneys said they would not release any further statements.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Prosecutors charged Mel Gibson on Friday with misdemeanor 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.

The Academy Award winner was scheduled to appear in court later in the day.

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, 55, 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 an 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.

He portrays a deeply troubled man able to communicate only through a beaver puppet in the film directed by Jodie Foster.

Although Gibson’s prominence as an actor has diminished, he has remained a Hollywood fixture and drawn audiences as a director.

His 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” was a surprise blockbuster, earning more than $300 million.

His relationship with Grigorieva helped return Gibson to the limelight, with the pair appearing on red carpets and award shows. Gibson confirmed her pregnancy on “The Tonight Show.”

Grigorieva, 40, has a teenage son with actor Timothy Dalton.

Gibson is suspected of striking her on Jan. 6, 2010, although she did not report it until months later.

The Sheriff’s Department opened its investigation in July, and later began an ongoing probe into Gibson’s claim that Grigorieva had attempted to extort him.

By then, the pair had broken up and reached a confidential custody agreement regarding their infant daughter. Although the exact details are not public, Gibson’s attorney said last year the actor was paying for a house and car for Grigorieva along with child care.

The former couple has appeared opposite each other several times in a family law court that has heard issues related to child care, financial issues and evidence in the criminal investigations of both parents.

The district attorney’s office did not announce a decision Friday on whether Grigorieva would face any criminal charges.

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