Russell Crowe Pays Up for Phone Tossing

by | November 18, 2005 | Comments

Facing punishment for his infamous phone-throwing fit last June, Oscar-winning New Zealand native Russell Crowe felt the long arm of the law today as a Manhattan judge slapped him with a hefty fine — $160.

Yes, despite the potential seven-year prison sentence stemming from his original charges — felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon — Crowe’s charges were reduced to misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in prison, and then waived altogether.

If you’ll recall, the "Gladiator" star assaulted hotel employee Nestor Estrada last June after growing enraged when he couldn’t get a phone call through to his wife in Australia. He ripped the telephone from the wall and threw it at Estrada, hitting him in the head. Crowe had been doing press for his Jim Braddock boxing biopic, "Cinderella Man," when the incident occurred; coincidentally, "Cinderella Man" suffered from the summer’s box office slump and played to disappointing numbers.

Fans of the dispensation of justice needn’t be entirely disgusted with the slap-on-the-hands sentencing. Following a civil lawsuit last August, Crowe paid his victim a reported $100,000 settlement. Plus, the New York judge who waived jail time warned Crowe that if he is arrested again in the next year, his deferred sentence will be reinstated. In the meantime, he’s staying out of trouble (and away from high-testosterone roles) by starring in Ridley Scott‘s English romantic drama, "A Good Year."