Though it would have likely supplied him with lots of good material, Russell Brand avoided a six-month trip to prison on Thursday (July 26) when a New Orleans judge sentenced the British comedian to 20 hours of community service over a charge of throwing a photographer's iPhone through a window.
According to Reuters, Brand, 37, who was not in New Orleans Municipal Court when the sentence for the misdemeanor charge was handed down, was ordered to pay a $500 fine on top of the community service. A lawyer for the "Rock of Ages" star entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. The community service was ordered by the judge as an alternative to a criminal prosecution and if Brand completes the required amount, the charges will be dismissed.
Brand's attorney, Robert Glass, said that the "Brand X" host could complete his community service "at any charity or agency anywhere, whether it be in California or England." A follow-up status hearing is set for August 31.
Brand was arrested by New Orleans police on March 15 after a photographer accused the actor of grabbing his iPhone and throwing it through a window. The incident resulted in a charge of misdemeanor criminal damage to property, which carries a penalty of up to six months in prison and/or a $500 fine.
After posting $5,000 bond, Brand tweeted a predictably silly response to the arrest. "Since Steve Jobs died I cannot bear to see anyone use an iPhone irreverently, what I did was a tribute to his memory," he wrote. Brand later paid for repairs to the smashed window.