'Veronica's' Sidekick Sentenced

10/13/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

In exchange for prosecutors dropping a hate crime charge against him, "Veronica's Closet" actor Wallace Langham -- who plays a gay man on the show -- pleaded no contest on Friday to a battery charge for a September 1999 attack on a gay man in a Southern California market. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Abraham Kahn placed Langham, 34, on three years' probation, ordered him to serve 450 hours of community service, donate $10,000 to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and pay victim John Luciano's doctors' bills. Langham allegedly assaulted Luciano, a stringer for the Star tabloid, and shouted anti-gay remarks at him. "It's something that arose out of a heated argument," the actor told reporters outside the courtroom. "I yelled out the most hateful slur that I could." Judge Kahn warned Langham that he must complete his community service within three years -- or else go to jail. He must also stay at least 100 yards from Luciano.

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