Sheen case delayed, could affect 'Men' taping

8:02 PM PST 06/07/2010 by Ellen Miller, Reuters, AP

Postponed until July; filming starts in August

ASPEN, Colo. -- A deal that would have wrapped up Charlie Sheen's assault case against his wife in time to resume production on his top-rated television comedy hit a snag on Monday and the case was postponed until July.

Sheen, 44, the star of CBS' "Two and a Half Men," had been expected to plead guilty at the Aspen court to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault against Brooke Mueller and to be sentenced to 30 days behind bars.

The plea bargain would have allowed Sheen to leave jail by day to coach actors at a local Aspen theater and would have had him finishing his sentence in time to start filming the new series of "Two and a Half Men" in the first week of August.

But the chief prosecutor told Judge James Boyd on Monday that the two sides had been unable to reach an agreement. Boyd rescheduled the hearing until July 12.

Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin declined to give details. "It hit a snag," he told reporters afterward. "I am not going to talk about it."

Sheen's attorney Yale Galanter said the actor was disappointed at the failure to resolve the case. "All parties in good faith put this deal together, but minor glitches developed," Galanter told reporters.

Galanter said the "glitches" were not related to Sheen's work release arrangement at the Aspen theater.

Sheen, the highest-paid actor on U.S. television, left court without speaking to the media. Mueller, who had told police that Sheen pulled a knife and threatened to have her killed during the alcohol-fueled argument on Christmas Day 2009, was not seen in Aspen for Monday's hearing.

The plea deal would have dropped the most serious charges against Sheen, who had faced up to three years behind bars if he had been convicted on all the offenses.

The actor had been widely expected to start his jail term later Monday. With credit for good behavior, he could have been released early after 17 days.

Sheen and Mueller, the actor's third wife, married in 2008 and have twin, 1-year-old sons. Mueller has repeatedly said she wants the case dropped. Both Sheen and Mueller entered rehab earlier this year and attempted a reconciliation but have recently been reported to be living in separate homes.

Sheen's legal troubles have had little effect on his popularity. Audiences for "Two and a Half Men" -- the most popular comedy on U.S. television -- proved steady after his Christmas Day arrest. Sheen last month negotiated a new, two-year contract with CBS that took his pay to a reported $1.8 million per episode.

Galanter told reporters he believed there was still time to get the case resolved before filming resumes for the comedy series, in which Sheen plays a womanizing bachelor.

"We are still OK," he said, adding that the July 12 court date could be brought forward if the parties can resolve their differences.

"Sometimes people have the best of interests, but the stars don't align," Galanter said of Monday's failure to conclude the case.
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