Sutherland has head for trouble

'24' star charged with assault after turning himself in to N.Y. police

Kiefer Sutherland has been charged with assault for allegedly head-butting a clothing designer at a nightclub Monday night. Charges were filed after Sutherland spoke with investigators Thursday at a police station in Manhattan.

The "24" star reported to the precinct house with his lawyers but did not give a statement.

Any legal penalty could affect production on the eighth season of Fox's "24," set to begin at month's end. Season 7 was delayed because of the WGA strike, resulting in the show skipping a full year.

One source close to Sutherland dismissed the matter as overblown by the media and said they expect any penalty to be minor enough to allow the actor to begin production on schedule. Fox, "24" producer 20th TV and Sutherland's publicist had no comment.

Details about what happened Monday remain sketchy, with Sutherland's rep saying designer Jack McCollough rudely bumped into actress Brooke Shields while she was talking to the actor at the event. Sutherland demanded an apology, then head-butted McCollough.

Shields' rep, however, told one publication that's not exactly what happened: "Nothing happened to her. … Jack did nothing inappropriate. It's not clear what caused Kiefer to do what he did."

McCollough has been quoted as saying Sutherland was intoxicated and told People magazine, "All we can say at this point is that (McCollough) was the victim of a vicious, violent, unprovoked assault and that the matter is in the hands of the authorities."

Sutherland is on parole for a 2007 DUI conviction in California. He was put on five years' probation after serving 48 days in jail for driving under the influence and was on probation for a 2004 drunken-driving charge at the time.

The Los Angeles city attorney's office reportedly is trying to determine whether Sutherland violated terms of his parole.

"Part of his probation is likely to obey all laws, so the judge in L.A. will look closely at the New York case," said criminal defense attorney Richard Hirsch, adding that a penalty might be more harsh if Sutherland was intoxicated during the skirmish.

Matthew Belloni and the Associated Press contributed to this report.