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CASES AND PRESS

Christian Slater fights grope charges

By Sam Knight, Times Online

Christian Slater, the Hollywood actor, has rejected a plea bargain from US prosecutors as he fights a charge of allegedly groping a woman in a corner shop.

Mr. Slater, the star of Heathers and Pump Up the Volume, has been charged with forcible touching - which carries a maximum jail sentence of a year - after a woman accused him of grabbing her buttocks as she tried to buy a drink in a grocery store.

Today Mr. Slater, 35, decided not to plead guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree harassment, which would have carried a punishment of three days community service.

"We believe this case warrants dismissal," said Eric Franz, Mr. Slater's lawyer.

The alleged incident took place shortly before 2am on May 31 in a small shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Mr. Slater is accused of grabbing the woman after arguing with his girlfriend.

The alleged victim then ran out into the street to flag down a police car. Mr. Slater was spotted nearby.

The star, who memorably played the part of Will Scarlett in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, told reporters outside the court that he is due in London at the end of September to rehearse for his part in an upcoming production of the play, Sweet Bird of Youth.

The actor was ordered by Judge Richard Weinberg to return to court on September 19 when he will rule on the case.

Mr. Slater spent 59 days in prison after he was arrested in August 1997 for reportedly biting a man in the stomach and throwing a police officer against a wall during a party in Los Angeles.
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