Movie star Sean Penn has pleaded no contest to a vandalism charge as part of a deal with Los Angeles City officials to end an assault case against him. Penn was charged with battery and misdemeanor vandalism after a violent run-in with photographer Jordan Dawes last October. The actor was videotaped kicking the paparazzo.
On Wednesday, May 12, the Oscar winner pleaded no contest to one count of vandalism and has agreed to undergo 36 hours of anger management classes. He'll also serve 36 months of probation and perform 300 hours of community service as part of the deal. His lawyer reveals Penn can complete his community service by continuing his charity efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
If Penn successfully completes his probation, his vandalism conviction will turn into a lesser offense of disturbing the peace. Under the terms of the deal, Penn must also stay at least 100 yards away from Dawes. A restitution hearing over the photographer's camera and medical bills is set for July 8.
Penn still faces a civil suit from Dawes, who claims he was seriously injured in the incident. The actor's lawyer, Richard Hirsch, says, "Prolonging this matter in the court system would not have been in Mr. Penn's best interests and would have distracted from his charitable commitments, specifically his work in Haiti. Accordingly he has decided to accept the terms and move on."