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Mel Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva PA Images/Phil McCarten/Landov
Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson ‘reaches plea agreement’ over girlfriend battery charge

Movie star was to be formally charged this week over claims that he hit his former partner.

MEL GIBSON HAS reached a plea agreement with prosecutors who plan to file a misdemeanour battery charge against the Oscar winner over a fight last year with his then-girlfriend.

Gibson will appear in person to enter the plea, according to the person who was not authorised to discuss details of the agreement publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Gibson was expected to be formally charged with battery this week, and the agreement could allow the actor-director to avoid jail time.

The charge stems from a dispute between Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva in January 2010.

The Russian musician did not report the incident until months later, after the pair broke up and had negotiated a custody agreement involving their infant daughter.

Gibson’s attorney Blair Berk said in a written statement that Gibson sought an agreement to resolve the case with his children in mind:

I know from almost 20 years as a criminal defense lawyer that sometimes justice can come for a client at too high a personal price. That is particularly so for Mel, whose right to due process can only be exercised in this case with an enormous media circus attached.

Berk’s statement did not disclose further details of the plea agreement.

The charge is another blow to Gibson, the star of the Lethal Weapon film series, whose reputation in Hollywood took a major hit after a 2006 arrest for drunken driving.

A deputy’s report leaked to the celebrity website TMZ revealed the star had used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

His conviction was later expunged.

Recordings leaked last year during Gibson’s custody battle with Grigorieva also contained racist and sexist taunts by the actor during a series of tirades.

Gibson, 55, has never addressed the recordings, which were given to sheriff’s investigators and widely circulated by the celebrity website RadarOnline.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office did not say today if it planned to charge Grigorieva with extortion, a case Gibson pursued after Grigorieva reported the fight to authorities.

Gibson’s latest film, The Beaver, is due to premiere soon at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. It is only the second major film 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.

Gibson allegedly struck the Russian musician on Jan. 6, 2010.

The Sheriff’s Department opened its investigation in July and later began looking into Gibson’s allegations that Grigorieva had attempted to extort him.

By then, the pair had broken up and reached a confidential custody agreement regarding their daughter. Exact details are not public, but Gibson’s attorney Stephen Kolodny said last year the actor was paying for a house for Grigorieva, a vehicle and child care.

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