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Hot dog eating champ put on probation

From Cassie Spodak, CNN
Competititive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi leaves a New York courthouse after a hearing Thursday.
Competititive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi leaves a New York courthouse after a hearing Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Japanese eating champion put on probation for 6 months
  • Takeru Kobayashi was accused of storming the stage at a hot dog eating contest
  • He was banned from the July 4 contest because of a dispute with the organizer

New York (CNN) -- A Japanese former hot dog eating champion walked out of a New York courtroom Thursday essentially a free man, provided he stays out of trouble for six months.

Takeru Kobayashi was charged with resisting arrest, trespassing, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct in connection with a disturbance at a famous July 4 hot dog eating contest on Coney Island.

A Brooklyn judge Thursday put Kobayashi on probation for six months. If he meets the conditions, the charges against him will be dismissed.

"I am very happy," Kobayashi said afterward through a translator. "It was a more nervous victory than winning the eating contest."

Video: Hungry for hot dogs in jail
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Kobayashi rushed the stage at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. He had been barred from the competition this year because of a contract dispute with the event's organizer, Major League Eating.

"I went as a spectator to cheer on my friends, and everyone was yelling 'Let him eat,' so I was hoping they would let me eat and prove I am still the champ," he told reporters afterward.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut again took the Mustard Belt in the contest after swallowing 54 hot dogs and buns.

In a statement released after the event, the organizer criticized Kobayashi's actions, but extended good wishes for the former champ.

"Takeru Kobayashi's actions at the Hot Dog Contest in Coney Island were inappropriate and unfortunate, but it did not diminish Joey Chestnut's victory, or the holiday tradition that dates back generations," Major League Eating said. "Kobayashi was a great champion and we hope that he is able to resolve his current situation and move past this."

Kobayashi said Thursday he will be taking part in a pizza eating contest in Ontario, Canada, later this month.

CNN's Cassie Spodak contributed to this report.

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