TV actor Dustin Diamond was convicted Friday of two misdemeanors stemming from a barroom fight, but a Wisconsin jury cleared the former “Saved by the Bell” actor of the most serious felony charge.
The jury’s verdict came just hours after the 38-year-old actor testified that he never intended to stab anyone in the fight last Christmas Day. He had pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of recklessly endangering public safety, plus two misdemeanors – carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.
The first misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of nine months in prison, the second a maximum of 90 days in prison. Diamond told reporters he couldn’t comment as he left the courtroom after a 13-hour day of testimony and jury deliberations.
Diamond, who played the character Screech on the popular 1990s show, said some people had wanted to shake his hand and pose for photos at the bar, but that others were badgering him and his girlfriend, Amanda Schutz. He said he was trying to scare bar patrons in Port Washington, Wisconsin, after his girlfriend was punched in the face.
“I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes,” he said.
Witnesses testified that Schutz pushed one woman at the bar and grabbed another woman’s hand, initiating the incident. Schutz also faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.
The jury also convicted Schutz of disorderly conduct Friday night. Schutz faces a maximum of 90 days in prison.
A sentencing date for Diamond and Schutz has not been announced.
Rihanna draws a crowd in Havana
Pop star Rihanna drew a crowd Friday while cruising down Havana’s Malecon shore boulevard in a classic American convertible from the 1950s.
Children and young people swarmed around the car, using their cellphones to snap pictures of the singer while security guards kept them from getting too close.
Cuban state media say Rihanna arrived in Cuba on Wednesday and made an unannounced appearance at the La Fontana restaurant.
The media reports say she also has recorded video footage in the capital’s central district of El Vedado and at the La Guarida restaurant, where the Cuban movie “Strawberry and Chocolate” was filmed.
The birthday bunch
Actor Clint Walker is 88. Actress Ruta Lee is 80. Actor Keir Dullea is 79. Actor Michael J. Pollard is 76. Actor Ted McGinley is 57. Country singer Wynonna Judd is 51. Rock musician Tom Morello (Audioslave; Rage Against The Machine) is 51. Actress Idina Menzel is 44. Rapper Cee Lo Green is 40.
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