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Actor Christian Slater turns down plea deal on charges he groped woman

By Lisa Sweetingham, Court TV

NEW YORK (Court TV) — Cheeky actor Christian Slater denies he touched bottom.

The "True Romance" star refused to cut a deal Thursday with prosecutors who say he squeezed the buttocks of a 52-year-old woman who was buying a soda at a convenience store on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
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"We believe this case warrants dismissal," Slater's defense attorney Eric Franz told Judge Richard Weinberg.

Franz said he would investigate the grope-and-go incident further and ask the Manhattan District Attorney's office to drop the misdemeanor charges of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse against Slater.

The actor rejected the assistant D.A.'s offer of three days of community service in exchange for a guilty plea on a lesser charge of second-degree harassment.

He could face a maximum one-year prison sentence. His next court date is Sept. 19.

Slater was arrested May 31 at about 2 a.m. near Third Avenue and 93rd Street shortly after making his move on the alleged victim, according to the criminal complaint.

The woman claimed she was purchasing a beverage at a bodega when Slater fondled her bottom without cause or provocation.

Slater, who reportedly proclaimed, "This is bull----," at the time of his arrest, has maintained his innocence.

Seven years ago, the bad-boy actor was sentenced to 90 days in jail for his involvement in a cocaine and booze-driven melee in which he was accused of biting a man in the stomach and trying to grab a police officer's gun. He was released after 59 days for good behavior.

Outside the courtroom Thursday, the 35-year-old gave a wink and a smile to a reporter who approached his attorney, but both men refused to comment on the case.

A young fan in rolled-up jeans and a ponytail chased after Slater as he was escorted down a courthouse stairwell. He signed her white T-shirt with a loopy illegible scrawl just above her hip.

As he slipped out a back door he was met by about two dozen photographers, cameras and reporters.

Defense attorney Franz, who also represents the hotel employee allegedly assaulted with a telephone by actor Russell Crowe, was struck by a camera. He sternly warned the encroaching swarm of reporters to keep their distance. "Do not push me," Franz said.

Slater also pleaded with reporters. "I'm really sorry," he said in a sardonic tone, "I just can't say anything."

He did confess, however, that he would be traveling to London in late September to rehearse for his role in the play "Sweet Bird of Youth."