After appearing for his pretrial hearing Tuesday, White Stripes frontman Jack White pleaded guilty to assaulting Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer on December 13 at a Detroit rock club.
White, who had previously proclaimed he acted in self-defense (see "Jack White Pleads Not Guilty To Assault Charge"), reversed his plea in exchange for a lesser charge. Instead of facing misdemeanor aggravated assault, which carries a penalty of a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail, White pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.
Judge Paula Humphries of Detroit's 36th District Court fined White $500 and ordered him to pay court costs of about $200. In addition, White must enroll in anger-management classes. Upon completion of the program, his probation will be closed out, a spokesperson for the prosecution said.
White showed up at the court Tuesday morning (March 9) wearing a black pinstripe suit with his hair dyed auburn. During most of the morning White's attorney negotiated the terms of the plea with Stollsteimer's lawyer. At around noon, White and his attorney appeared before the judge and explained they were close to a settlement. The judge ordered them to reconvene at 2:30, at which point an agreement was made.
In the incident, Stollsteimer suffered severe facial bruising and a torn retina that required surgery (see "Jack White To Be Charged With Aggravated Assault For Magic Stick Scrap"). Stollsteimer was not charged by police.
"There was no special treatment given to Mr. White in this case," Wayne County prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said. "The reduced charge and terms of his probation are consistent with similar cases of this type."
"We're very happy with the result and we're happy that the most highly celebrated bar-scuffle in the history of the city of Detroit has finally come to an end," White's attorney Wally Piszczatowski said. "Jack is pleased he can focus on what he does best, which is making music and attending to his very busy schedule, and can do so without having to think about the criminal charges."
It is still unclear exactly why White beat up Stollsteimer, with whom he hadn't spoken in two years prior to the incident. Some have speculated that White, who discovered the Von Bondies, took them on the road and produced their first album, was incensed that Stollsteimer had badmouthed him and his production skills in the press. Von Bondies bassist Carrie Smith said that White's ire may have stemmed from the Von Bondies' decision to distance themselves from the White Stripes and forge a path of their own.
"We just didn't want to be known as the band that opened for the White Stripes anymore," Smith said. "To be completely honest, I don't think that's a terrible thing."