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Sam Worthington of 'Avatar' charged with assault, faces jail threat

02/26/2014 by Corinne Heller

Sam Worthington of "Avatar" fame was arraigned at a New York court on assault charges on Wednesday, Feb. 26, following his and his girlfriend's confrontation with a photographer over the weekend.

The 37-year-old actor did not enter a plea and was later released, according to ABC News. He was charged with two counts of third-degree assault, attempted assault and harassment and faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted, the outlet reported. He was also issued a restraining order that prohibits him from contact with the photographer, Sheng Li, for six months.

Worthington was arrested and detained for several hours on Sunday after allegedly punching the man, who police said had kicked the actor's girlfriend, model Lara Bingle, in the shin. Li was also arrested and was charged on Monday with misdemeanor counts of assault and harassment, ABC News reported, adding that he also did not enter a plea.

It is unclear who caused the scuffle. The confrontation took place outside of Benny's Burritos in Greenwich Village and both Worthington and Bingle were bloody after the altercation and showed their injuries to police, E! News had reported, quoting the manager.

In 2012, the actor was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct following a confrontation near a bar in Atlanta in November 2012. The charges were dismissed.

The actor played Jake Sully in the Oscar-winning 2009 film "Avatar and has also starred in movies such as "Wrath of the Titans" and "The Debt". He is set to reprise his "Avatar" role in three sequels.

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