After 16 months of courtroom dramas on both coasts, Courtney Love is finally resolving her criminal cases.
On Thursday morning (February 10), the singer changed her plea from not guilty to no contest (which means she's not disputing the charge, but she's not saying she did it, either) to one count of a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault as part of an agreement with Los Angeles prosecutors. That plea agreement extended to her drug-possession case, also heard Thursday, in which she changed her plea to guilty.
Love had originally been charged with one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, based on an incident in April 2004 when she allegedly attacked L.A. musician Kristin King after finding King sleeping on her ex-boyfriend's couch (see "Courtney Love Pleads Not Guilty To Assault Charge"). King had testified that Love threw a liquor bottle at her face and chased her with a metal flashlight.
Had Love been convicted of the felony charge, she would have faced up to four years in prison. Instead, with the plea agreement, the charge has been reduced to misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon likely to cause great bodily injury. Judge Rand Rubin gave Love three years' summary probation and fined her $1,000.
"Courtney agreed to follow my advice and counsel and get the assault behind her, even though she continues to insist she did not do anything wrong in that case," Love's attorney Howard Weitzman said. "It was clear the alleged victim suffered credibility gaps and that the district attorney's office felt a misdemeanor was appropriate given those reservations."
Under the terms of her probation, Love is required to attend three sessions a week of Narcotics Anonymous and complete one year of rehab at Wavelengths (where she's previously sought treatment), one year of anger-management counseling, and 100 hours of community service. She's prohibited from using narcotics or controlled substances, and she's not to "harass, annoy or bother" King. She's also required to submit to be searched by police officers upon request and undergo random drug testing. Love is scheduled to return to court August 10 for a progress report.
"We think this is a reasonable resolution of this case, after consideration of all the evidence in the case, the victim's impact statement and the defendant's background," prosecutor Gina Satriano said in a statement. "There was no permanent physical injury to the victim. Due to the defendant's history with drugs and her anger-control issues, we're pleased this sentence addresses extensive drug treatment and anger-management counseling."
As for Love's drug-possession case, stemming from an incident in October 2003, when she overdosed at her Beverly Hills home (see "Prosecutors Ask Courtney Love To Turn Over Prescriptions"), the singer had faced two felony counts of illegal possession of prescription painkillers, punishable by up to three years and eight months in prison. Those charges were reduced on Thursday to a single misdemeanor count of possession of a forged or altered narcotics prescription, for which she received probation for the second time in one day. Love is required to pay $200 in fines and fees, not use or possess "any narcotics, dangerous or restricted drugs, or associated paraphernalia, except with valid prescription," and not associate with drug users, buyers and sellers and avoid places where they congregate.
She is scheduled to return to court August 10 for a progress report in both cases.
"This is all good news for Courtney, who now has her daughter back, has these criminal cases behind her, and continues to move forward in a positive way as she resumes her career in music and acting," Weitzman said.
Love previously struck plea agreements with New York and Los Angeles prosecutors in her other assault and drug cases. In October 2004, Love resolved a New York case by pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, for throwing a microphone stand into the crowd and injuring a fan nearly a year ago (see "Courtney Love Pleads Guilty To Disorderly Conduct"). She was ordered to undergo drug treatment, get counseling, submit to random drug tests, and pay restitution to her victim. In May 2004, she resolved a Los Angeles misdemeanor drug case by pleading guilty to being under the influence, and in July she received a sentence of 18 months of drug treatment (see "Courtney Love Sentenced To Rehab").