Brand gets community service in New Orleans case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Actor and comedian Russell Brand must perform 20 hours of community service and pay a $500 court fee to resolve a misdemeanor charge over a confrontation with a photographer in New Orleans, where he was filming a movie in March.

Brand wasn’t in a New Orleans courtroom Thursday when his attorney, Robert Glass, entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf to a charge of simple criminal damage to property. The charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Brand turned himself in to police three days after his encounter with a man trying to take his picture. Police said Brand grabbed the man’s phone and threw it at a building, breaking a window.

“He’s a good guy,” Glass said. “He was harassed.”

The alleged victim was in a group of photographers following Brand’s car on March 12. A “highly irate” Brand pulled over and confronted the unidentified man, reaching into his vehicle, according to a police report.

“The victim believing that (Brand) was going to hit him in the groin grabbed for the offender’s hand and a struggle ensued with the victim receiving a small cut on his finger,” the report says. “The victim felt the offender pull something off his lap and suddenly realized that the offender had taken his cellphone.”

A deal with the district attorney’s office calls for the case to be dismissed if the actor completes the service requirement by Aug. 31, Glass said.