Columbus Short accepts plea deal
FORMER SCANDAL ACTOR Columbus Short appeared in court on Thursday and quickly took a plea deal in his domestic violence case after he failed to get his bail reduced.
The 31-year-old pleaded no contest to misdemeanour spousal battery stemming from a violent confrontation with wife Tanee McCall on February 3.
He was immediately sentenced to three years of probation and either 45 days in jail or 30 days of community labour. He chose the community labour with the understanding he would be hauled off to jail if he failed to complete it.
The judge also ordered him to complete a 52-week domestic violence program, attend 26 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, surrender any firearms and stay at least 100 yards away from his wife, who has filed for divorce.
He was ordered back to court November 21.
Short was apologetic about missing two previous court dates.
“I apologize sincerely for missing court,” he told Judge Christine Ewell.
“I literally went to Barbados for an HIV charity,” he said. “I was between a rock and a hard place: the rock being court and the hard place being Barbados and 2 000 kids waiting for me to get there.”
The actor promised he wasn’t a flight risk and he would be present for the rest of the trial.
Judge Ewell wasn’t persuaded and kept his bail at a whopping $500 000, causing Short to quickly cave and take the no-jail plea deal.
Earlier on Thursday, Short was handcuffed and taken into custody when he appeared in court wearing a colourful cardigan sweater over a plaid shirt and blue plants.
It was unclear Thursday afternoon if he would be released from jail or have to spend the night behind bars due to another bench warrant issued in another case Thursday.
Short had been due to appear first thing Thursday miles away at a courthouse near LAX airport on a separate felony assault case.
His criminal lawyer, Jeff Jacquet, successfully stalled the felony hearing for almost three hours Thursday telling Judge H. Jay Ford III that Short promised he was on his way.
Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers appeared visibly frustrated by Short’s absence and asked that he be cuffed and remanded to jail with no bail if he ever showed up on the felony case.
But Jacquet argued that his client had a constitutional right to bail and said Short only went to Van Nuys first to do the right thing in his other case.
Judge Ford declined to yank Short’s bail but raised it significantly to $250 000 from $50 000 and issued the new bench warrant.
Jacquet said he expected Short to quickly clear the bench warrant at LAX.
“He’s not running from anything,” Jacquet told The News.
Short’s felony assault case stems from a fight with a man outside Gabe’s Bar and Grill in Los Angeles last March.
Alleged victim Felton Hyche III claims Short “viciously lunged” at him after they had a verbal disagreement outside an engagement party at the restaurant. (nydailynews.com/NB)