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LAURA ITALIANO - July 15, 2005

Here's actor Christian Slater leaving court yesterday after he refused to take a deal offering him three days of community service on his recent rump-roughhousing rap.

The no-jail deal would have reduced to a mere violation the misdemeanor forcible-touching charges that Slater now faces.

Manhattan prosecutors say the actor drunkenly grabbed the buttocks of a 52-year-old woman on a sidewalk at Second Avenue and East 93rd Street in May.

They even say the victim has sworn out a statement against him.

But Slater is insisting he's no fanny fondler.

"This case warrants dismissal," defense lawyer Eric Franz told a Criminal Court judge.

The lawyer said he plans to launch his own investigation to get to the bottom of things - and hopes to convince the DA's Office of its derri-error.

The judge set Slater's next court appearance for Sept. 19 - and said Slater has to be there, despite his plans to begin rehearsals in London for his leading role as failed actor Chance Wayne in the play "Sweet Bird of Youth" by Tennessee Williams.

Slater came to court in a dashing dark brown suit with light blue chalk stripes and was personable with reporters and autograph seekers.

He signed his name to the hem of one woman's T-shirt. He also signed his name to the only piece of paper a second autograph seeker had on hand - his Addicts Rehabilitation Center graduation certificate.

As he left court, Slater declined to talk about the tuchus fracas.