Volume 96, Issue 14
Friday, September 20, 2002

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Big, bad, baseball player gets beat up by wife

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) – Actress Tawny Kitaen agreed Wednesday to a plea bargain on spousal abuse and battery charges alleging she attacked her husband, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chuck Finley.

Under the deal, Kitaen did not admit guilt but agreed to enter a spousal battery counselling program. If she completes the program and other conditions of the deal, the case could eventually be dropped.

The bargain also requires Kitaen, 40, to avoid contact with her husband, stay away from their Newport Beach home and return to court in December for a progress report.

"She's not admitting any guilt," said Kitaen's lawyer, Blair Berk.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Pamela Iles made the agreement with Kitaen over the objection of Deputy District Attorney Debbie Johnson.

Iles also ordered Kitaen to make a $500 donation to a battered-women's shelter, pay $400 in court costs, see only one doctor and not to change doctors without approval and take only medications prescribed by a doctor.

If convicted of the two misdemeanour counts, she faced up to a year in jail.

Kitaen, who appeared in such movies as Bachelor Party and California Girls, was accused of attacking her husband April 1 as the two were returning home from dinner. Police who responded to the couple's Newport Beach home said they saw abrasions and scrapes on Finley's body.

After her arrest, Kitaen admitted to being addicted to prescription medications for depression and migraine headaches over the past two years. She checked into a rehabilitation treatment program.

Finley and Kitaen were married in November 1997 after a well-publicized courtship. Kitaen was previously married to David Coverdale, lead singer for the British heavy metal band Whitesnake.

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