Mel Gibson appeared in court this afternoon to face charges of misdemeanor battery against his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, from a January 2010 confrontation.
The court accepted Gibson's plea bargain and sentenced the actor to informal probation for 36 months, 16 hours of community service with Mending Kids International, a 53-week domestic violence program, continued mental health counseling and a $400 domestic violence fine. If he violates his probation, Gibson could face up to a year in prison.
Gibson's lawyer made it clear that the actor was not admitting guilt but was "entering into plea because it's in the best interest of his children." Grigorieva, who is also the mother of their baby daughter Lucia, waived her right to appear in court.
The 55-year-old actor has yet to comment publicly on the case.
Gibson has six sons and one daughter with ex-wife Robyn Moore. The two divorced in 2009 after 28 years of marriage. Grigorieva, a 40-year-old Russian musician, gave birth to Gibson's daughter in October of that year. They broke up in April 2010. The following summer, she accused him of assaulting her the previous January at his Los Angeles home.
A recorded racist, sexist and explicit rant Gibson is said to have made against Grigorieva over the phone was then released. He has not confirmed it is his voice on the recordings, which were posted on the website RadarOnline.
In October 2010, Los Angeles authorities wrapped up an investigation of Grigorieva's claim that Gibson punched her in the face during the incident and harmed Lucia, as they argued in front of her teenage son Sacha.
Gibson has denied her punched her and said in court documents filed in June 2010 that he slapped Grigorieva during the January confrontation in a bid to protect their baby, who she was holding in her arms at the time.
Authorities are still looking into whether she extorted money from Gibson. No arrests have been made. Prosecutors have not yet announced a decision on whether to charge Grigorieva with extortion, the Associated Press said.
Grigorieva said on CNN talk show "Larry King Live" in November 2010 that she was willing to forgive Gibson as the two continue a bitter custody battle over Lucia.
Grigorieva also recalled happier times with Gibson, saying he used to carry her around in his arms and call her his "little Communist" as a joke.
Do you think Gibson's sentence was fair? Vote in our poll!