Emile Hirsch to spend 15 days in jail for Sundance assault

Story highlights

  • Emile Hirsch took a plea deal and could have conviction expunged later
  • Victim is unhappy with what she thinks is a light sentence
  • Hirsch put a Hollywood exec in a chokehold during the Sundance Film Festival

(CNN)Actor Emile Hirsch is spending two weeks in a Utah jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault for an incident during the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

As part of a plea deal, Hirsch pleaded guilty Monday to a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony, CNN affiliate KSTU in Salt Lake City, Utah, reported.
The "Into the Wild" star and "Lone Survivor" actor had faced charges of felony aggravated assault and intoxication.
Judge Kara Pettit sentenced Hirsch to 15 days in county jail, 50 hours of community service and ordered him to pay a $4,750 fine.
"There's no absolutely no excuse for what happened," the 30-year-old actor said. He said he was drunk and after the incident spent 36 days in rehab.
Hirsch had a verbal and physical altercation with Daniele Bernfeld, a Paramount executive, at TAO nightclub in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival in January, court documents say.
The early morning altercation reportedly involved Hirsch putting Bernfeld into a chokehold so forceful that she "couldn't breathe" and caused her to black out. Two bystanders pulled Hirsch off Bernfeld before police arrived. Some "redness" was seen around Bernfeld's neck, authorities said.
The incident happened after Hirsch allegedly confronted Bernfeld, calling her a "rich kid" and questioning why she looked "so tough." Hirsch reportedly admitted to being in a verbal confrontation with Bernfeld and that he had consumed three to four drinks that evening. He also claimed that he did not know Bernfeld personally.
Hirsch said in court that he consumed an "enormous amount of alcohol" and has no memory of what happened at the time of the incident. Prosecutors have said he admitted taking medicine as well as drinking, KSTU reported.
Hirsch was at Sundance for the premiere of "Ten Thousands Saints," which stars Ethan Hawke and Asa Butterfield. The movie now is in a limited release, according to the website Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates reviews about films.
Bernfeld sent a letter to the court in which she complained that Hirsch was getting a light sentence, KSTU reported.
"Quite simply, this punishment does not fit the crime," she said.
The actor said he was "truly sorry for what I've put her through."
If Hirsch completes the terms of the agreement, the conviction will be dropped from his record.