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Sean Penn pleads no contest to vandalism

The Associated Press, Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 10:59am (PDT)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Sean Penn pleaded no contest to vandalism on Wednesday, effectively ending a case in which the Oscar-winning actor was videotaped kicking a celebrity photographer.

Penn was not present in court and entered the plea through his attorney. He was sentenced to three years of informal probation and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service, said city attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan.

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Mateljan says those hours can be completed through Penn's earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti.

He was also ordered to undergo 36 hours of anger management counseling.

Penn was charged in February with misdemeanor battery and vandalism for the October dustup.

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"Prolonging this matter in the court system would not have been in Mr. Penn's best interests and would have distracted from his charitable commitments, specifically his work in Haiti," Penn's attorney Richard Hirsch said. "Accordingly he has decided to accept the terms and move on."

If he completes the terms of his sentence, Penn will be allowed to reduce the charge to disturbing the peace.

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Mateljan said a restitution hearing for the photographer will be held July 8.

Penn has won two best actor Oscars for roles in "Mystic River" and "Milk."

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