SALT LAKE CITY — Actor Emile Hirsch has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after being accused of putting a female studio executive in a chokehold at a Utah nightclub during the Sundance Film Festival.

The “Into the Wild” star entered his plea Monday under a deal with prosecutors. The 30-year-old from Encino, California, will spend 15 days in jail, pay a $4,750 fine and do 50 hours of community service. If he completes the sentence, the charge will be dismissed.

Daniele Bernfeld, an executive for the Paramount Pictures subsidiary Insurge Pictures, told police that Hirsch put her in a chokehold from behind on Jan. 25 at Tao Nightclub in Park City, dragged her across a table and body slammed her to the floor, records show.

Hirsch was slurring his words and struggled to balance, public reports show, and said he had three or four drinks. He told police he couldn’t remember exactly what happened but acknowledged “mouthing off” with Bernfeld and then defending himself when she came at him. He reiterated Monday that he couldn’t remember what happened that night.

Summit County Attorney Robert Hilder said Hirsch has been sober since the incident, has taken responsibility and expressed remorse on multiple occasions. Prosecutors say Hirsch was taking medication that may have mixed with the alcohol, Hilder said, acknowledging that it is troubling Hirsch can’t explain why he did what he did.

Bernfeld described the incident as being “insanely painful and absolutely terrifying,” according to public records.

Bernfeld said in a statement through her attorney that she wasn’t happy with the plea deal, saying the punishment should be tougher.

– From news service reports


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