Akon avoided jail time today but was sentenced to 65 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $250 fine in the wake of a June 2007 incident at a concert in upstate New York during which he hoisted a fan on his shoulders and violently tossed him into the crowd. A witness said the incident, which was widely viewed on YouTube, was triggered when somebody threw something at Akon during his performance. Security plucked a 15-year-old fan from the crowd in Fishkill, N.Y., and handed him over to the singer. Akon today pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, a violation. He could be hauled back into court if he is arrested in the next 12 months.
Sharply dressed in a grey suit, powder blue shirt and grey tie, Akon sat in the fifth row of the courtroom, surrounded by his attorney, other defendants and members of the public. While Akon was filling out paperwork in the Fishkill Town Hall lobby after entering his plea, the teen in question — Anthony Smith — approached the performer, shook his hand and said, "Thanks a lot." Akon apologized and said, "We never had a chance to talk."
While Akon was speaking with Smith, the victim's father interrupted and said, in a confrontational manner, "You threw my son off the stage." Akon's attorney released a statement that said the performer was glad the case has been resolved.