Jury finds Dustin Diamond not guilty of felony charge in stabbing, guilty of two misdemeanors
After about 5 hours or deliberations a jury acquitted former TV star Dustin Diamond of second degree recklessly endangering safety.
The jury did convict him of misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
The concealed carry conviction carries up to 9 months in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
The disorderly conduct charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Sentencing is set for June 25th.
Diamond's fiance was also convicted of disorderly conduct.
Diamond and his attorney said they were satisfied with the verdict.
Describing himself basically as a protector in a bad situation, Dustin Diamond told a jury Friday he and his fiance are victims.
\"It felt like we were being set up to be captured on tape for something,\" Diamond said.
Diamond, who's best known for playing \"Screech\" on TV's Saved by the Bell, faces a felony recklessly endangering safety charge as well as two misdemeanors (carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct) for his involvement in a Christmas night bar fight and stabbing in Port Washington.
Diamond said he and his fiance, Amanda Schutz, were minding their own business when drunk people started bumping into them on purpose, taking pictures and turning it into some sort of game. Diamond and Schutz (who he calls his wife) got up to leave and a fight broke out, during which Diamond says Schutz was punched in the face.
\"She looked up at me and her face started pouring blood from the nose and mouth,\" Diamond recalled on the stand.
Diamond says he pulled out a pocket knife only to scare people away, but Casey Smet, who Diamond claims came at his throat, ended up with stab wounds.
\"I did not swing or motion the knife towards [Casey] at all,\" Diamond said. \"I think he injured himself when he grabbed me.\"
But Diamond lied to police about that knife initially. Prosecutors played interrogation videos that show Diamond claiming he only had a pen.
\"Multiple other occasions you say, 'I have the pen in my hand and I'm holding it like it's a knife, but it wasn't, it was a pen. Do you remember that,\" District Attorney Adam Gerol asked Diamond. \"'Yes, I was lying,'\" the actor replied.
Diamond said his one concern that night was getting home to take care of the injured Schutz. He was worried admitting to having the knife would further complicate the matter because he didn't know he injured Smet.
\"If I burp the wrong way, [celebrity gossip website] TMZ gets it and I did not want an event with her being hit in a bar and that being it and done to become, 'Dustin Diamond pulled a knife at a bar on somebody,'\" Diamond said.
Diamond also never told police Smet tried to choke him during their initial interrogations. Now, those lies and that knife could land Diamond and his fiance in jail.
\"Why do people lie,\" District Attorney Gerol said in closing arguments. \"It's a defense mechanism when they've got something to lie or feel guilty about.\"
\"Don't believe Dustin, don't believe some of the witnesses,\" Diamond's attorney Thomas Alberti said. \"Believe your own eyes, believe what you see.\"
The jury went into deliberations at 4:45 p.m. Friday. If they don't reach a verdict before 10 p.m. Friday, they likely will return Saturday morning.