George Michael Sentenced In Lewd Act Case

May 15, 1998 12:00 AM ET

British pop star George Michael has pleaded no contest to engaging in a lewd act last month in a Beverly Hills park restroom.

Michael, 34, was not in court on Thursday when Judge Charles Rubin sentenced him to pay a $810 fine and perform 80 hours of community service. Michael's attorney, Ira Reiner, entered the no-contest plea at Beverly Hills Municipal Court during the arraignment, which was scheduled shortly after the singer's April 7 arrest.

Judge Rubin also ordered Michael to undergo counseling and banned him from entering Will Rogers Park, where an undercover police officer allegedly witnessed him engaging in a lewd act by himself. Michael was arrested immediately and taken to the Beverly Hills police department where he was booked under his birth name, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, and released after posting a $500 bail.

Michael was charged with a single misdemeanor count of lewd conduct, which can carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Just days after his arrest, Michael announced during a CNN interview that he is gay. "I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way, but I don't feel any shame whatsoever," he told reporter Jim Moret on Friday, April 10.

A high school drop-out at age 17, Michael achieved superstardom just one year later as half of the pop duo Wham!, which topped the charts in the '80s with the singles "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Careless Whisper." Michael parted ways with collaborator Andrew Ridgeley in 1986, and released the platinum album Faith one year later.

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