Baldwin, who was accused of striking another driver in the face during the dispute last fall outside his New York City home, pleaded guilty to harassment and will have his case record sealed once he completes the one-day class. The charge is a violation, the lowest level of offense.
A misdemeanor attempted assault charge was dropped. Prosecutors offered the compromise after reviewing video of the incident, looking at medical records and talking with the victim and witnesses, Assistant District Attorney Ryan Lipes said. The 60-year-old Baldwin, who's had various scrapes with the law over the years, has a clean criminal record, Lipes said.
Baldwin — in a sport coat, black top and black framed glasses — only spoke a few words during the brief court hearing, mostly answering short questions from the judge. The Manhattan prosecutor's office declined comment.
Baldwin and his lawyer didn't comment outside court, but the actor wasn't shy on Twitter, where he criticized the media for staking out his courtroom when there were more serious cases elsewhere in the building and for misreporting the allegations against him.
"The press reported that I punched someone. That is untrue, and that is a serious charge. A man was punched in NY recently and died," Baldwin tweeted, along with a link to a news article about a fatal bar fight in Queens last November.
"Nothing that resembles justice ever enters or leaves any courtroom in this country," he added. Baldwin was accused of trying to punch another driver during a Nov. 2 argument over a parking spot in front of his Manhattan apartment building.
Police said Baldwin claimed he had a family member holding the spot for him as he attempted to park his black Cadillac Escalade when a man driving a black Saab station wagon pulled up and took it. Police said the men were arguing and pushed each other before Baldwin, got more aggressive. The driver of the station wagon told police that Baldwin hit him with his hand — but wasn't sure if it was a punch or a slap.
Baldwin told a police officer that the other driver "stole my spot," used a vulgarity to describe him, and acknowledged pushing him, prosecutors said in court papers. Baldwin's lawyer, Alan Abramson, maintained that the former "30 Rock" actor would be vindicated by "incontrovertible video evidence."
Baldwin said on Twitter after Wednesday's hearing that there were three security cameras outside his building and that the punch "didn't happen." No video was shown in court. Baldwin, who got booted off a flight in 2011 for refusing to put his cellphone away, was playing with his phone while waiting for Wednesday's hearing to start — but he didn't argue when court officers announced that phones had to be turned off and out of sight.
As it was, the second-floor courtroom was already noisy — with the beeping sound of inmate-transport buses backing up outside, providing a constant, if not annoying, soundtrack for his appearance.
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