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Could one Jack Bauer-style head-butt delay Fox’s 24?
The action-drama is set to start production on its eighth season at the end of the month, but star Kiefer Sutherland is caught up in an action-drama of his own that threatens to interfere with production.
Sutherland allegedly noggin-knocked clothing designer Jack McCollough at a New York club on Monday night. No charges have been filed, though The New York Daily News and The New York Post are reporting that prosecutors plan to charge the actor with minor assault and that Sutherland intends to surrender as early as tomorrow. Fox, 24 producer 20th TV and Sutherland’s publicist had no comment.
Details about about what exactly happened are still sketchy, with Sutherland’s rep saying the designer 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.”
The designer 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 theauthorities.”
Sutherland is on parole from a 2007 DUI charge 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 drunk driving charge at the time.
A new charge could violate Sutherland’s parole. People reports the L.A. City Attorney plans to contact the NYPD and determine whether Sutherland was publicly intoxicated. If so, he could be sentenced to 48 days or more.
“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, who added that a penalty might be harsher if Sutherland was intoxicated during the skirmish. “He can send him back to jail, sentence him to community service, that’s all negotiable and would depend on the outcome in New York.”
Whether his parole was violated or not, any potential jail time would be a problem. Season seven of 24 was delayed due to the writers strike, making the show skip a full year. Now production on season eight is right around the corner, the clock is ticking, and Sutherland is running out of time.
— Matthew Belloni contributed to this report
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