Monday 23 September 2019

Video will clear Alec Baldwin in parking clash, says lawyer

Actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Jennifer Peltz

Video will vindicate Alec Baldwin after he was accused of punching a man in the face over a parking space, the actor's lawyer has said.

Baldwin himself said nothing as he was arraigned on a misdemeanour attempted assault charge and a charge of harassment, a violation, in the latest of his several brushes with the law over the years.

The Emmy winner has previously denied he punched anyone in the car parking clash outside his Manhattan apartment building on November 2.

Lawyer Alan Abramson echoed that denial on Monday and added that "incontrovertible video evidence" proves it "beyond all doubt".

"Mr Baldwin did not commit any crime, and we are confident that once this matter is fully investigated, it will be resolved swiftly and appropriately in court," Mr Abramson said.

He did not show the video and declined to give details about it.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said in court papers the 60-year-old star told a police officer the other driver "stole my spot", used a vulgarity to describe him, and acknowledged: "I did push him."

Baldwin, who came to court in New York in a purple polo shirt and dark trousers, did not enter a plea.

It is normal not to do so at this stage of a Manhattan misdemeanour case.

He was released without bail and is due back in court on January 23.

Baldwin tweeted after his arrest that reports of the episode were "egregiously misstated", and his lawyer said the actor's "reputation has been damaged by media reports that claim that he punched a man on a New York City street".

The fracas began after the other driver pulled into a parking space that one of Baldwin's relatives was holding for him, and the two men started quarrelling and pushing each other, police said earlier this month.

A court complaint filed on Monday said the other driver told police Baldwin shoved him and hit him in the face with a closed hand, causing him pain.

The 49-year-old man was taken to hospital for treatment.

While police arrested Baldwin on assault and harassment charges, prosecutors changed them on Monday to attempted assault and harassment.

The attempted assault charge requires proving that someone intentionally tried to injure someone physically.

The assault charge, on the other hand, would require establishing that someone intentionally or recklessly did injure another person, or negligently used a deadly weapon or "dangerous instrument".

Baldwin, the star of former television sitcom 30 Rock and current host of Match Game, has portrayed Republican President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live and recently started a talk show on ABC.

He has got into a number of public confrontations, some of them leading to legal trouble.

Baldwin was arrested in 1995 after being accused of hitting a paparazzi photographer in Los Angeles, and he was thrown off an American Airlines flight in 2011 after a dust-up with a flight attendant who asked him to stop playing Words with Friends and turn off his mobile phone.

In 2014, Baldwin was arrested in New York for allegedly getting belligerent with police who said they stopped him for cycling the wrong way on a one-way street.

"Looks like you have a short fuse," a Manhattan judge said when he put that case on track to be thrown out, which it ultimately was.

Months before the 2014 arrest, Baldwin authored a New York magazine cover story decrying tabloid coverage of his comings and goings in the city and suggesting he was giving up on living there.

"I know there's an impression that I'm someone who seeks to have violent confrontations with people. I don't," he said.

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