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Reporter charged with hitting Brad Pitt

By Alan Duke and Ralph Ellis, CNN
updated 3:13 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Los Angeles prosecutor files four charges
  • Brad Pitt gets protective order against alleged attacker
  • Vitalii Sediuk loses his TV job after Cannes carpet stunt
  • Pitt and Angelina Jolie were at the Hollywood premiere of Jolie's movie

Hollywood, California (CNN) -- A journalist accused of striking Brad Pitt at the "Maleficent" premiere has been charged with four misdemeanors, Los Angeles City Attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox said Friday.

Ukrainian TV reporter Vitalii Sediuk was charged with one count of battery, one count of assault and two violations of the Los Angeles municipal code, Wilcox said. The code violations relate to Sediuk's stage crashing at the 2013 Grammy Awards, Wilcox said.

Pitt was signing autographs Wednesday at the area of the red carpet where fans are allowed to gather when Sediuk allegedly jumped the rope and hit the actor in his face, according to Los Angeles Police Sgt. Leonard Calderon.

Pitt, who was there with partner Angelina Jolie, star of "Maleficent," continued unfazed on the carpet to give interviews.

Sediuk, who was due to make a first appearance in court Friday afternoon, was transferred from the LAPD's Hollywood precinct jail to the county's central jail, operated by the sheriff.

While his bond was initially set at $20,000 after his arrest, the judge could raise that since additional charges have emerged connected to the Grammys incident.

Sediuk is infamous for red carpet pranks around the world, including kissing Will Smith in Moscow and hugging Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper around the knees at separate events earlier this year.

Sediuk, 25, was fired from his reporter job with Ukrainian television channel 1+1 after he jumped under actress America Ferrera's dress on a Cannes red carpet on May 17, a spokesman for the company told CNN.

The TV network was not involved in his stunts, a spokesman said.

Brad Pitt attacked at movie premiere
Meet the prankster who hit Brad Pitt
Vitalii Sediuk sits in the back of a police car after allegedly striking Brad Pitt in the face as Pitt and Angelina Jolie walked the red carpet at the premiere of Disney's "Maleficent" in Hollywood, California, on Wednesday, May 28. Sediuk has a history of confronting celebrities at red carpet events. Vitalii Sediuk sits in the back of a police car after allegedly striking Brad Pitt in the face as Pitt and Angelina Jolie walked the red carpet at the premiere of Disney's "Maleficent" in Hollywood, California, on Wednesday, May 28. Sediuk has a history of confronting celebrities at red carpet events.
Vitalii Sediuk's brief interruptions
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He was already on three years of "formal diversion" -- a form of probation -- in Los Angeles for crashing the Grammy stage during Adele's acceptance last year, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's spokesman.

The lawyer who represented Seduik in the Grammy case was surprised when CNN called him Thursday about the latest arrest.

Attorney: Client 'a real nice guy'

Sediuk is "a real nice guy," Anthony Willoughby said. "I'm really shocked that he would be accused of hitting somebody."

"This was an unfortunate and inappropriate incident that is being investigated by the LAPD," a spokesman for Disney Studio, the film's distributor, said of the incident involving Pitt.

Police did not say whether Pitt was punched or slapped, just that the attacker struck him in the face. The attacker was quickly tackled by bodyguards, handcuffed by police and hauled away to jail.

He now is barred from going near Pitt. Los Angeles police issued an emergency protective order effective for five days starting Thursday, but the actor's lawyer could ask a judge to extend it.

Sediuk's celebrity pranks are usually silly, attention-getting stunts that do not involve violence.

Grammys stage-crasher reveals his entry plan

He eluded security to get a second-row seat inside the Staples Center at the 2013 Grammy Awards, despite having no credentials. Sediuk jumped onto the stage when Jennifer Lopez announced Adele as the winner. "I love you, Adele," he is heard saying as the singer approached. He was arrested offstage and later prosecuted on two misdemeanor charges.

He eventually accepted a plea deal for probation with the provision that he not go back to the Staples Center and stay out of trouble for three years.

"I think that the court overly protects the entertainment industry," Willoughby told CNN.

A not-welcome presence at events

Award show and premiere producers apparently black-listed Sediuk after last year's Grammy incident. He was denied reporter credentials to the Oscars, but he showed up anyway wearing a feathered swan outfit similar to the one worn by Björk on the 2001 Oscars red carpet. He was ordered to leave the venue after telling police it was a protest.

Will Smith on the red carpet slap heard 'round the world'

The celebrity stunts apparently began when Sediuk handed Madonna an odd and unwelcomed gift of a hydrangea during a news conference at the Venice Film Festival in September 2011. "I absolutely loathe hydrangeas," she said as she stuffed them under a table.

Don't buy Madonna hydrangeas

Sediuk's infamy grew in May 2012 on a Moscow red carpet where Will Smith was attending a movie premiere. Video shows Sediuk attempting to kiss the actor on the mouth. "Come on, what the hell is your problem?" Smith said as he pushed the reporter away and lightly slapped him. "He's lucky I ain't sucker punched him."

Sediuk crawled onto a red carpet and under Ferraro's dress at the Cannes Film Festival in France earlier this month. Video shows him being dragged away. It was this incident that cost him his job at the Ukrainian channel, the company said.

Sediuk's actions "were neither suggested nor coordinated by the network," 1+1 TV spokesman Serhiy Popov told CNN on Thursday. "Vitalii was acting on his own behalf and not on the behalf of the channel."

The network is not helping Sediuk deal with his legal problems, Popov said.

CNN's Victoria Butenko,Topher Gauk-Roger, David Daniel, Talia Kayali and Dottie Evans contributed to this report.

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