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Video: Is Gibson's movie career on the line?

updated 7/31/2006 10:58:23 PM ET 2006-08-01T02:58:23

An official police report on Mel Gibson’s arrest on drunken driving charges substantiates claims that he made anti-Semitic remarks and threatened a deputy, a law enforcement official said Monday.

On Monday, sheriff’s department officials sent prosecutors their case, which also says a tequila bottle was found in Gibson’s car when he was pulled over on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Gibson had released a lengthy statement Saturday apologizing for saying “despicable” things to sheriff’s deputies when he was arrested, but he did not elaborate. The entertainment Web site TMZ.com had reported that the sheriff’s department was considering eliminating the anti-Semitic remarks from its official report.

According to the TMZ report, in addition to threatening the arresting deputy and trying to escape, Gibson said, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” and asked the officer, James Mee, “Are you a Jew?”

The report forwarded to prosecutors cites Gibson as making disparaging comments about Jews, according to the law enforcement official, but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The district attorney’s office confirmed prosecutors had received the case and it was under review. A tentative arraignment date was set for Sept. 28.

A sheriff's spokesman Monday defended the department's handling of the case.

"In that case file will be (Gibson's) statement, will be our report, will be everything pertinent to his blood-alcohol level. We have done our job," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters Monday at department headquarters. "We hope we've done it with not only professionalism and intelligence, but held to the highest standard of legal and moral imperative."

The Sheriff's Department, he said, was "convinced because of our investigation and because of his own self-illuminating statement that he will be convicted of driving under the influence."

The deputy who arrested Mel Gibson on suspicion of drunken driving said Monday that he feels bad for damage to the star’s reputation but hopes Gibson thinks twice before drinking and getting behind the wheel.

James Mee, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, told The Associated Press that he considered it a routine arrest and didn’t take seriously any comments that Gibson made.

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‘The guy is trying to stay alive’
In his statement, Gibson said he has struggled with alcoholism and taken steps "to ensure my return to health."

Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob denies the actor has entered a residential rehabilitation facility. He said the actor was "participating in an ongoing program to deal with [his alcohol problem]." "The guy is trying to stay alive."

The mug shot taken of Gibson when he was booked was not released. Whitmore said the case investigator would decide when to release it.

Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, would not elaborate beyond an apology Gibson issued Saturday in which the star admitted he uttered "despicable" things to deputies during his arrest, but made no mention of anti-Semitic remarks.

The county's Office of Independent Review, a civilian panel of attorneys that monitors the Sheriff's Department and allegations of misconduct, has opened an investigation into whether authorities tried to cover up Gibson's alleged inflammatory comments, said its chief attorney, Mike Gennaco.

"Assuming that the report was excised, then the question is was it done for a good reason within regulations," he said.

Gibson, dressed in a sheriff's uniform, has filmed public service announcements for Sheriff Lee Baca's relief committee, the Star Organization. The group raises scholarships for children of department employees.

"There is no cover-up," Baca told the Los Angeles Times. "Our job is not to (focus) on what he said. It's to establish his blood-alcohol level when he was driving and proceed with the case. Trying someone on rumor and innuendo is no way to run an investigation, at least one with integrity."

Gibson's public service announcement spoke about the benefits of the Star Organization and Gibson also donated $10,000 to it, Whitmore said.

No special treatment
Asked if the sheriff's department extended special consideration to Gibson because of that relationship, Whitmore said: "Again, and I will say it as long as you wish me to: absolutely not."

Gibson was arrested after deputies stopped his 2006 Lexus LS 430 for speeding at 2:36 a.m. Friday. Whitmore said deputies clocked him doing 87 mph in a 45 mph zone.

A breath test indicated Gibson's blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent, Whitmore said. In California, a driver is legally intoxicated at 0.08 percent.

Gibson posted $5,000 bail and was released hours later.

In his statement, Gibson said he has struggled with alcoholism and taken steps "to ensure my return to health."

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Gibson's apology "unremorseful and insufficient."

Gibson, 50, won a best-director Oscar for 1995's "Braveheart," and also starred in the "Lethal Weapon" and "Mad Max" films, among others,

In recent years, he has turned his attention to producing films and TV shows through his Icon Productions. His last major starring role was in the 2002 film "Signs." He played a supporting part in the 2003 film, "The Singing Detective," which he also produced.

The hundreds of millions of dollars he made producing the 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" has given the star the ability to finance his own films, giving him a measure of independence from the major studios.

His next project is "Apocalypto," a movie about the decline of the Mayan empire that is being distributed by The Walt Disney Co.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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