Emile Hirsch Gets 15 Days In Jail For Attacking Paramount Exec At Sundance
Actor Emile Hirsch has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for attacking a woman during the Sundance Film Festival. Hirsch, 30, pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor assault in relation to a January 25 incident where he choked Paramount exec Daniele Bernfled at the Tao Nightclub in Park City, Utah, according to the Associated Press. While the maximum sentence could have been 5 years, Hirsch will instead spend 15 days in prison, drop $4,750 in fines and commit 50 hours of community service. After all of that is taken care of, his charge will be dismissed. He must also stay sober and go to AA. If he fails to do these things, he faces a year in jail.
Hirsch, who was so drunk he claims he can't remember the incident, began picking a fight with Bernfeld at a party, then followed her when she walked away. He then put her in a chokehold from behind, dragged her across a table and onto the floor, then jumped on her and strangled her. On the night of the attack, he first told police the conflict was verbal and that he had only had three to four drinks.
Bernfeld, who called the attack "insanely painful and absolutely terrifying," said in a statement sent by her lawyer, Donald Etra, that she wanted the sentencing to be harsher. She pointed out that two people had to pull Hirsch off her and that she thought he was going to kill her.
"If a violent attack in front of a roomful of witnesses can be labeled a misdemeanor and dismissed, what of women who are assaulted while alone in hallways or bathrooms, or behind the closed doors of their own homes?" the statement said.
Summit County Attorney Robert Hirsch, the prosecutor in the case, acknowledged that Hirsch went to rehab following the attack and has been sober since, and noted that Hirsch had been taking medication in addition to the heavy drinking that night. He also acknowledged that the attack was "terrifying" for Bernfeld, saying, "I don't think we could have given enough jail to satisfy her." However, he did admit that it's a little disconcerting that no one knows why Hirsch attacked Bernfeld in the first place—including, apparently, Hirsch.
Hirsch said in court that he knows his behavior was "Completely wrong and reckless an irresponsible." He said, "I have no excuses for not remembering. I put those chemicals inside me."