Ex-HBO chief pleads no contest to battery


LAS VEGAS -- Ex-HBO chief executive Chris Albrecht settled a criminal domestic violence charge Friday when his lawyer pleaded no contest on his behalf to battery, and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine, authorities said.

Albrecht's girlfriend, Karla Jensen, declined medical treatment and told police she did not want to press charges.

In a separate statement released by Albrecht's publicist, Jensen said: "Chris and I made a mistake last weekend. It was an incident fueled by both of us drinking too much alcohol, but I was not injured and I know he cares about me. Our argument that evening got out of hand, but I still love him and I forgive him. We are both grateful that the matter has been resolved with the Las Vegas authorities. Chris and I are both committed to our sobriety and are looking forward to putting this behind us and moving on with our lives together."

Albrecht lost his job after he was arrested early Sunday outside the MGM Grand hotel-casino, where police reported seeing him "grabbing a white female by the throat with both hands." The incident occurred after the title fight between boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., which HBO telecast on a pay-per-view basis.

Albrecht's lawyer, David Chesnoff, appeared before a Las Vegas justice of the peace, who accepted the no contest plea, ordered the fine, and imposed a six-month suspended sentence with a provision that Albrecht attend domestic violence counseling.

Judge Abbi Silver also imposed what Chesnoff and Clark County District Attorney David Roger called an informal order for Albrecht to stay out of legal trouble for a year.

"He's appreciative that it was resolved quickly, and he feels his treatment by the law enforcement community was fair," Chesnoff told The Associated Press.

Albrecht, 54, and Jensen, 37, issued statements through a publicist in New York saying both were to blame for what Jensen characterized as a mistake. They said they intend to remain together.

"My behavior was clearly inappropriate and, in this spirit, I have accepted the judgment of the authorities in Las Vegas," Albrecht said.

Roger said it would have been difficult to prosecute the case with Jensen living in California and unwilling to press charges.

The prosecutor also noted that Albrecht pleaded to a simple misdemeanor charge that brought a higher fine and possible jail term than the $300 fine and community service sentence that could have resulted from a conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence-battery.

On Tuesday, Albrecht acknowledged he had a drinking problem and said he was taking a leave of absence from his job. On Wednesday, he resigned from his executive position, saying he had been asked to leave by HBO owner Time Warner Inc.

His resignation followed a report in the Los Angeles Times that HBO paid a settlement in 1991 of at least $400,000 to a subordinate and former lover who accused Albrecht of shoving and choking her.

Roger and Chesnoff said Albrecht had no previous criminal history.