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Former 'Scandal' star Columbus Short pleads no contest to knocking man out, avoids jail


LOS ANGELES — Former "Scandal" actor Columbus Short is avoiding jail time after pleading no contest Thursday to punching a man at a Los Angeles bar last year.

Short pleaded no contest to a felony count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Short was sentenced to three years' probation and two months of community labor, and he must take 26 anger-management classes.

Short also will be ordered to pay restitution to the man he punched. The amount will be determined at an Oct. 21 hearing.

A witness testified at a December hearing that Short delivered a running punch during a fight in March 2014, causing Fenton Hyche III to lose consciousness and fall to the ground at a family gathering. Hyche suffered a concussion and a fractured eye socket.

Short's attorney, Michael Levin, didn't immediately return messages seeking comment about his client's plea late Thursday. Levin has previously said Short was acting in self-defense because Hyche was prepared to fight Short.

But Hyche's cousin testified in December that Hyche's father had intervened and was holding his son's forearms when the actor delivered the punch.

Short, who turned 33 last week, left "Scandal" after being charged in the assault case and a separate domestic-violence case involving his estranged wife.

After December's hearing, a judge ruled that prosecutors had shown enough evidence to support a battery charge against Short but expressed doubts about the credibility of some of Hyche's testimony.

Hyche said he couldn't remember several aspects of his argument with Short but acknowledged that he had taken off a jersey and was prepared to fight the actor.

Hyche acknowledged he was arguing with Short about money and said he "felt like he was being belittled." He said in response to questions from Short's attorney that he didn't remember throwing money at Short's wife at one point or taunting the actor.

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