His legal entanglements now sorted, Mel Gibson will turn his attention to low-key efforts at easing tensions prompted by his behavior during a drunken-driving arrest last month.
Gibson pleaded no contest Thursday to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge and was sentenced to a year of AA meetings, ordered to pay $1,608 in fines and fees and placed on three years' probation. The actor-director also was ordered to enroll in an alcohol-abuse program and volunteered to do a public service announcement on the hazards of drinking and driving.
A news statement from the county District Attorney's Office mentioned that Gibson had "volunteered to immediately enter into rehab." A Gibson spokesman said the rehab didn't involve any inpatient program, but declined to elaborate.
Gibson didn't appear at the arraignment before Malibu Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira and had his attorney, Blair Berk, enter the plea on his behalf. The original judge assigned to the case, Terry Adamson, recused herself because Gibson is one of her neighbors.
Indeed, the Associated Press noted that reporters weren't given ample notice to attend the arraignment, which was hastened from a scheduled Sept. 28 date at Gibson's request. Gibson reps declined comment on the latest developments, other than to confirm legal details.
"This was an appropriate outcome, which addresses all the public safety concerns of drinking and driving," Deputy District Attorney Gina Satriano said.
Gibson was stopped while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu shortly after 2 a.m. July 28. A Los Angeles Sheriff's deputy reported clocking his Lexus at more than 85 mph.
His plea was to a charge of driving while having a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.08%. Charges of driving under the influence and driving with an open container of alcohol were dropped.
Gibson was ordered to attend AA meetings five times a week for 4 1/2 months and then three times a week for 7 1/2 months. A statement by his reps previously indicated that he already had entered into some sort of "ongoing program of recovery."
As for the fallout on Gibson's acting and directing career, the jury was still out.
For weeks, participants in news and chat shows worldwide have waxed over and over about Gibson's comments during his arrest, when he was reported to have fired anti-Semitic and sexist barbs at arresting officers.
There were sharply worded proclamations in some quarters of Hollywood deriding Gibson's behavior, though the Walt Disney Co. thus far has maintained that its Gibson-helmed "Apocalypto" would remain scheduled for a theatrical bow in December. Any new project beyond that will be highly scrutinized, to say the least.
In a previous statement, Gibson indicated he would pursue one-on-one meetings with leaders in the Jewish community to make amends for his behavior.
Carl DiOrio writes for The Hollywood Reporter.
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