Mel Gibson to Plead Guilty to Hitting Oksana Grigorieva in a Plea Deal

The actor's lawyer insists that his client is innocent of misdeameanor battery of his ex -- but wants to avoid a media circus

Hey, remember Mel Gibson, the man whose hate-spewed rants we were all gasping over before Charlie Sheen hijacked the crazy train? Despite Gibson's relative lack of headlines, the bitter court battle between the actor and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva rages on -- and on Wednesday, we learned that Gibson will plead guilty to charges of domestic abuse.

Gibson's decision is part of a plea deal that his lawyers reached to put a quick end to the court case -- well, at least this particular part of the court case. (Gibson is still pursuing extortion charges against Grigorieva, and we stopped keeping track of the custody situation with their 17-month-old daughter Lucia. But we digress.) On Friday, the actor will plead no contest to misdemeanor battery of Grigorieva, in exchange for getting out of a jail sentence. His lawyer appealed to the judge by saying that Gibson was innocent, but that Gibson was less interested in proving his innocence than avoiding a media circus.

"Mel's only priority throughout all of this has been that the best interests of his young daughter Lucia and the rest of his children be put first in any decisions made," Gibson's lawyer said today in a statement. "It is with only that in mind that he asked me to approach the District Attorney with a proposal that would bring all of this to an immediate end."

Actually, Gibson already admitted to hitting Grigorieva earlier in the case, which has been going on since July. Gibson testified last year that he hit his ex-girlfriend "one time with an open hand" in an "attempt to bring her back to reality." (Note to all girlfriends and wives out there: If your partner thinks that hitting you is "reality," then you need to escape reality immediately.) Grigorieva alleged that there were multiple incidents of abuse, and presented the court with pictures of bruises on her face and her daughter's chin.

Gibson will not go to jail for assault, but will serve probation and probably be required to undergo counseling. Ironically, another celebrity copped a similar deal a few months ago, avoiding jail by pleading guilty to assaulting his wife. Yep, you guessed it -- it was Charlie Sheen.

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