Emile Hirsch Sentenced to 15 Days in Jail After Pleading Guilty to Assaulting Studio Executive
By Meredith B. Kile
Actor Emile Hirsch pleaded guilty on Monday to misdemeanor assault after a January 25 incident at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where the Into the Wild star was accused of putting a female studio executive in a chokehold.
Hirsch, who was initially charged with felony assault in the incident, entered a plea in abeyance for a reduced charge of a class A misdemeanor. He was taken to the Summit County jail, where he will serve 15 days. The actor will also be required to pay a $4,750 fine plus restitution (which will be determined in civil court), serve 50 hours of community service, and continue his rehabilitation treatment.
At the time of the incident, a source told ET that Hirsch and Insurge Pictures executive Daniele Bernfeld seemed at first to be joking around at TAO nightclub in Park City, Utah -- but then things escalated and the police were called. Police documents allege that Hirsch looked drunk when he approached the woman and asked her why she looked "so tough." He also allegedly told the woman she was a "rich kid who should not be at Sundance."
After walking away and sitting down with friends, Hirsch reportedly approached the woman again and allegedly put her in a chokehold, pulling her across the table and landing on top of her on the floor. According to police, the victim claimed that she "saw things going dark and might have blacked out momentarily."
"Emile consumed an enormous amount of alcohol on the evening in question and he has no memory of what happened," Hirsch's lawyer Robert Offer said in statement to ET at the time. "Emile takes these allegations very seriously, and is devastated that any of this has occurred.”
If Hirsch violates the terms of his plea, he will serve one year in jail and be subject to a larger fine. If he completes his sentence with no further violations, the charge will be dismissed.
Bernfield did not appear in court on Monday, but a Summit County attorney read a statement submitted by the victim’s attorney, in which the studio executive expressed her disappointment with Hirsch’s reduced sentence, writing, "If a violent attack in front of a roomful of witnesses can be labeled a misdemeanor and dismissed, what of women who are assaulted while alone in hallways or bathrooms, or behind the closed doors of their own homes?"