Marilyn Manson, who was accused of rubbing his crotch on a Clarkston,
Michigan, security guard's head last summer, pleaded no contest Wednesday
(June 19) to two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and assault and
Clarkston District Judge Gerald McNally ordered Manson, whose real name is
Brian Warner, to pay a fine of $4,000 for his gyrations against the guard's
head that allegedly occurred during Manson's July 30 performance at the DTE
Energy Music Theatre (see "Marilyn Manson Accused Of Rubbing Crotch On Man's Head").
"It's a victory for art," Manson said via his lawyer Walter Piszczatowski.
Piszczatowski had originally said that Manson would plead guilty after the charges where reduced from fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct to disorderly conduct last December (see "Marilyn Manson Facing Reduced Charges In Crotch-Rubbing Case"). But after the guard, Joshua Keasler, filed a federal lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Detroit alleging assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence and wanton misconduct (see "Marilyn Manson's Criminal Crotch-Rubbing Suit Spawns Civil Case"), Manson's defense team reconsidered the plea.
Piszczatowski said that if Manson pleaded no contest, Keasler's attorney wouldn't be able to use Manson's words as ammunition against him. "That's exactly what it was," Piszczatowski said Wednesday. "We wanted to avoid any possible use in the civil suit, so it worked out well."
Prosecuting attorney Ken Frazee objected to Manson's plea of no contest,
noting that a "no contest" plea, while not an admission of guilt, means that
the defendant doesn't dispute the charges and accepts a conviction and
sentence. "In the end, in the final analysis, it's the same thing [as a
guilty plea]," Frazee explained. "It just gives him some insulation. But it's
the same punishment."
Frazee also argued that Manson should have had a tougher sentence (had he
been convicted, Manson faced up to 90 days in jail). "The people also asked
for probation and counseling for his assaultive behavior," Frazee said. "And
the victim asked for jail time. We'd prefer that he have to pay more money.
We don't think $4,000 is enough of a punishment. The victim did suffer, and
the court didn't consider that enough."
"Manson is treated like a king," Keasler's lawyer John Nickola said. "He's
treated like a celebrity and allowed to plead no contest. He should be forced
to plead guilty or not guilty. The only thing I could do was chastise the
court and make a victim's impact statement."
The victim's impact statement, entered into the record, complains that
Manson's original charge should have been one of criminal sexual contact in
the second degree. "Justice will not, and cannot, be accorded in this case by
the reduction of these charges and the imposition of the court's
pre-announced sentences," the statement reads, referring to a matter where
the prosecution had asked Judge McNally to remove himself from the case when
he announced what sentence he would give Manson. "The conduct of [Manson] was
gross, reckless and shameful and done for the twisted psychological and/or
financial benefits of [Manson] at the expense of the victim."
For his part, Manson thinks he got a fair deal. "He's happy with the sentence," Piszczatowski said of his client's reaction. "He didn't get slain because of any of the publicity. It's a tough situation with a celebrity, what to do, but the judge considered everything. He did what he thought was right. We're very pleased."