Prosecutors to Drop Slater Groping Charges

UPDATED 09/20/2005 at 02:25 PM EDT Originally published 09/19/2005 at 12:00 PM EDT

Prosecutors to Drop Slater Groping Charges
Christian Slater
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss groping charges against Christian Slater on Monday morning – provided the actor stays out of trouble for the next six months.

"Today in New York, all pending charges against Christian Slater stemming from an alleged May 2005 incident were resolved in his favor," said a statement released by his rep. "Christian had maintained his innocence throughout this case and is pleased that the prosecution has agreed that a dismissal is warranted."

Slater, 36, had been accused of grabbing a woman on a New York street early in the morning of May 31 as the actor was allegedly arguing with his girlfriend.

"The case is over," a smiling Slater told PEOPLE as he walked out of a Manhattan courtroom. "I'm thrilled. I'm glad that the prosecution felt the case was worthy of dismissal."

Outside the courtroom, Slater was pressed by reporters one of whom asked if he'd actually touched the woman who accused him of grabbing her buttocks. Slater simply laughed and declined to answer.

Slater's lawyer, Eric Franz, said, however: "I think the fact that this case was dismissed speaks for itself. I think it suffices to say we are relieved."

"It just takes what it takes," said Slater, who was dressed in a black suit. "This is the process. It just shows that someone can accuse you of anything."

If convicted of the two misdemeanors for which he had been charged, Slater could have faced up to a year in prison. In mid-July, he turned down a plea deal offered to him. Under the deal, Slater would have performed three days of community service in exchange for pleading guilty to a charge of second-degree harassment.

Now that he's unencumbered by the charges – and assuming he stays out of trouble – Slater will head to Los Angeles for next month's Actor's Fund of America benefit reading of Casablanca, he tells PEOPLE. He'll play Rick, the role immortalized onscreen by Humphrey Bogart. His Ilsa – the Ingrid Bergman role – will be Anne Heche.

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