'Orange Is the New Black' Actress Dascha Polanco Set to Have Assault Charges Dismissed
By Jackie Willis and Rande Iaboni
Orange Is the New Black actress Dascha Polanco will have assault charges against her dismissed after being accused of attacking a teenage girl, provided she stays out of trouble with police for six months, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced on Wednesday.
Polanco, 33, was accused of assaulting a then 17-year-old girl in July 2015 on her "face and head with a closed fist at least three times," according to court papers.
Polanco, who plays Dayanara Diaz on the hit Netflix dramedy, was charged with assault, attempted assault and harassment.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Polanco was offered what is called an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, meaning the charges will be formally dropped if Polanco remains trouble-free for six months, after prosecutors conducted a “thorough investigation” into the allegations.
Prosecutors stated the decision was made based on interviews with the alleged victim and other witnesses, as well as her medical records and photographs that indicated the then 17-year-old suffered “only superficial abrasions and bruising.”
Prosecutors added that Polanco has no prior criminal record and that this appears to be her first contact with the criminal justice system.
Polanco did agree to sign an order of protection, complying that she will steer clear of the teenager.
Polanco’s attorney, Gerald B. Lefcourt, who has denied the allegations from the start, said in a statement to ET that the alleged victim “devised a plan to have Ms. Polanco pay her to withdraw the charges, which was furthered by a campaign of harassment directed at Ms. Polanco and her family and jeopardized their safety.”
“Fortunately, we have irrefutable evidence of the complainant’s misdeeds on tape, including her extortion attempts, which was provided to the District Attorney’s Office,” Lefcourt added. “Ms. Polanco is delighted to be able to finally put this matter behind her and refocus her energies on her family, and her career.”