For the next year, [artist id="1240040"]Akon[/artist] will have to split his time between rocking the stage and preaching about the evils of violence and the gang life. The “Troublemaker” singer appeared in court in Fishkill, New York, on Wednesday morning (December 17) to plead guilty for throwing a teenage fan off the stage at a concert in the summer of 2007, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.
Akon reached a deal to plead guilty to second-degree harassment, a violation, instead of the more serious charge of endangering the welfare of a child. In December 2007, Akon had originally pleaded not guilty to the charges that were filed after the singer tossed 15-year-old fan Anthony C. Smith from the stage at Dutchess Stadium on June 3, 2007, during the annual KFEST summer concert. In the incident, which was caught on video by fans, Akon picked up Smith and tossed him off the stage during his performance.
The singer was assessed a $350 fine and ordered to serve 65 hours of anti-gang and anti-violence community service that he most complete before June. If he gets arrested within the next 12 months, he will have to reappear in the Fishkill court.
Dressed in a gray suit, powder-blue shirt, gray tie and gray overcoat, Akon was seated four rows behind Smith and his parents in the courtroom during the proceeding and was confronted by Smith’s father after the matter was settled.
As the teen was leaving the courthouse, he reportedly walked up to the singer and shook his hand, saying, “Thanks a lot.” Akon repeatedly apologized to the boy, but was interrupted by the boy’s father, William Smith, who said, “You threw my son off the stage.”
Smiling, Akon addressed the teen, “We never had a chance to talk.”
While Akon would not comment to the paper about the case, the singer’s attorney, Andrea Zellan, handed out a prepared statement as she and her client left the court.
“We are pleased that the case has been resolved,” the statement said, “and Akon looks forward to putting this unfortunate incident behind him.”