By Dana Ferguson |Associated Press
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. — Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on the 1990s TV show “Saved by the Bell,” apologized Thursday for his part in a Wisconsin barroom stabbing before being sentenced to serve 4 months in jail.
Judge Paul Malloy also sentenced Diamond to 15 months’ probation and ordered him to report to jail Sunday. Diamond was convicted earlier this month on two misdemeanor counts that stemmed from a Christmas Day barroom fight.
Diamond, appearing misty-eyed, left the courtroom without commenting.
The 38-year-old actor was cleared of a felony charge last month after a three-day jury trial. The jury found him guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.
Malloy said the sentence “has to send a message to the community that we’re just not going to live like this.”
The actor told jurors that he took out a knife that day to try to ward off people, including a woman who punched his girlfriend. He said he then accidentally stabbed a man during an altercation.
“I sincerely apologize to everyone involved,” Diamond said at the hearing Thursday. “This was the single most terrifying experience of my life … This is all I’ve been able to think about for the last six months.”
Witnesses testified that Diamond’s girlfriend, Amanda Schutz, pushed one woman at the bar and grabbed another woman’s hand, initiating the bar fight. Schutz was also convicted of disorderly conduct last month and Malloy fined her $500.
Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said during the trial that Diamond lied about what happened and that the actor had scripted his testimony.
Gerol showed body-camera footage of Diamond’s statements to a Port Washington police officer the night of the fight. In the video, Diamond first said he might have struck the man with a pen. In a video of testimony later that night, Diamond said he had a knife at the bar, but hadn’t used it to stab anyone.
Port Washington is 25 miles north of Milwaukee.
Since his role on the popular 1990s TV show about Bayside High School students, Diamond has been sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments. He has appeared on reality TV shows, made a sex tape and most recently produced a tell-all documentary on Lifetime TV called “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story.”