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Community service for Russell Brand

Actor and comedian Russell Brand must perform 20 hours of community service and pay a 500 dollar (£318) court fee to resolve a misdemeanour charge over a confrontation with a photographer in New Orleans, where he was filming a movie in March.

Brand was not in the New Orleans court when his lawyer, Robert Glass, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to a charge of simple criminal damage to property. The charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Brand turned himself in to police three days after his encounter with a man trying to take his picture. Police said Brand grabbed the man's phone and threw it at a building, breaking a window.

"He's a good guy," Mr Glass said. "He was harassed."

The alleged victim was in a group of photographers following Brand's car on March 12. A "highly irate" Brand pulled over and confronted the unidentified man, reaching into his vehicle, according to a police report.

"The victim, believing that (Brand) was going to hit him in the groin, grabbed for the offender's hand and a struggle ensued with the victim receiving a small cut on his finger," the report says. "The victim felt the offender pull something off his lap and suddenly realised that the offender had taken his cellphone."

A deal with the district attorney's office calls for the case to be dismissed if the actor completes the service requirement by August 31, Mr Glass said.

"You'll return with proof that Mr Brand completed the community service?" Municipal Court Judge Sean Early asked. "Correct," Mr Glass responded.

Mr Glass said Brand may fulfil the requirement through his charitable work with people suffering from addictions. "Some of it may be abroad in England. Some of it may be in California," Mr Glass said.

In a Twitter posting after the incident, Brand wrote: "Since Steve Jobs died I cannot bear to see anyone use an iPhone irreverently, what I did was a tribute to his memory."

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