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Grubman Pleads Guilty in Deal That Includes Jail Time

Justice for all....
RIVERHEAD, N.Y., Aug. 23 — Elizabeth S. Grubman, the Manhattan publicist who was charged with backing her sport utility vehicle into a crowd outside a nightclub in the Hamptons last summer, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and a felony today and is expected to serve two months in the Suffolk County Jail.

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Ms. Grubman, 31, admitted to third-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident. She entered her pleas in a crowded courtroom here in which a special prosecutor, Joy M. Watson, led Ms. Grubman through the events of the wee hours of July 7, 2001, in a series of questions and answers.

Ms. Grubman told reporters afterward, "I just want to say again, I am so sorry for the people I hurt in the accident."

The incident began shortly after midnight when, witnesses and the police said, Ms. Grubman got into a shouting match with two bouncers at a Southampton nightclub, the Conscience Point Inn, was heard to yell "white trash" and then backed her 2001 Mercedes-Benz S.U.V. into several people near the door, injuring 16. She left in another car.

Ms. Grubman, arrested later that weekend, was charged with driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and 24 counts of assault. She has always contended that the incident was an accident.

The prosecution requested a sentence of 90 days in jail and five years' probation, but the judge indicated that he favored imposing 60 days in jail and 60 days' community service when Ms. Grubman is sentenced on Oct. 23. If convicted under the original charges, she could have faced seven years in prison. She remains free on bail.

The case has attracted intense media attention partly because of Ms. Grubman's business and family connections. She is the daughter of the entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman and her celebrity clients have included Britney Spears. She has also been a mainstay of Hamptons night life, something that has led to the case's becoming emblematic of the friction often felt between full-time Long Islanders and summer visitors.

The prosecution's case against Ms. Grubman and the potential penalties she faced were substantially diminished by the inability to substantiate accusations that Ms. Grubman had been intoxicated. Ms. Grubman's lawyer, Stephen P. Scaring, emphasized that in remarks today. The plea agreement, he said, "establishes she was not intoxicated" and that the case was about an accident, not an attack.

Ms. Watson, the prosecutor, said, "We are satisfied with the outcome."
 
 

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