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US: UPDATED - Clark Gable's grandson pleads guilty; likely to get 10 days in jail and 200 work hours

Clark James Gable III pleaded guilty December 8 2011 to one felony count of “discharge of a laser at an occupied aircraft.” In exchange for the guilty plea, other charges were dropped that could have put Gable in jail for three years. It is expected that prosecutors will ask for a 10 day jail sentence, plus 200 hours community service on a California Department of Transportation work crew. Gable’s sentencing will take place January 12 2012.

Gable, 23, is the grandson of actor Clark Gable, famed as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and for appearing in 66 other movies.

On July 28 2011, Gable was a passenger in a car driving through Hollywood when a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter was struck by a green laser beam. The two officers were temporarily blinded, according to police reports. Ground units were directed to the car by the helicopter. They found a laser pointer later measured to be 52 milliwatts. Gable and the driver, 23-year-old Maximilian Anderson, were arrested. Gable told officers that he had been aiming at the Hollywood sign, but missed.

In late July, Gable told reporters the incident was “a misunderstanding” and that he would learn from his mistake. Gable’s manager said “it wasn’t intentional. Nobody knew it was a felony.”

From Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, and AFP. LaserPointerSafety.com has news items on the July 28 arrest, and on the August 26 arraignment.

UPDATE, January 12 2012: Gable was sentenced to 10 days in jail plus three years probation, according to TMZ.com.

Text of the press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office:

Clark Gable’s grandson pleads guilty to pointing a laser at an aircraft

LOS ANGELES – The grandson of actor Clark Gable pleaded guilty today [December 8 2011] to pointing a green laser at an LAPD helicopter flying over Hollywood Boulevard last July, the District Attorney’s office announced.

Clark James Gable, 23, pleaded guilty to one felony count of discharge of a laser at an occupied aircraft before Superior Court Judge David Horwitz. His sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 12, said Deputy District Attorney Holly Harpham.

Gable, of Canoga Park, admitted that while a passenger in a car traveling down La Brea Avenue on July 28, he flashed a laser three times at an LAPD helicopter that was flying 800 feet above Hollywood Boulevard. The incident occurred shortly after 10 p.m.

Harpham said the 52-milliwatt laser light – which has a range of over 1,000 feet in altitude -- obstructed the vision of the two LAPD officers in the helicopter. The officers later pinpointed the laser beam coming from a small red car near Franklin and Highland.

Officers on the ground arrested Gable and the car’s driver, Maximilian Anderson. However, prosecutors declined to file on Anderson due to insufficient evidence that he was aware the laser was being pointed at the helicopter.

In exchange for his guilty plea today, prosecutors will ask that two additional felony counts of discharge of a laser and one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury will be dismissed at sentencing. He is expected to be sentenced to 10 days in jail and 200 hours of CalTrans. Restitution will be determined at a later date.