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Paula Abdul pleads no contest to hit-and-run

'Idol' fixture pays $900 in fines and is sentences to 24 months probation
/ Source: The Associated Press

“American Idol” judge Paula Abdul was fined and placed on probation Thursday after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run driving.

The charge stemmed from an accident last December in which her car clipped another vehicle on a San Fernando Valley freeway.

Abdul wasn’t in court as her lawyer entered the plea, city attorney’s office spokesman Frank Mateljan said.

Superior Court Commissioner Patricia Schwartz sentenced Abdul to 24 months of informal probation. She also was ordered to pay about $900 in fines and penalties and to reimburse the other motorist $775 for the damage, Mateljan said.

The charge carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“Unbeknownst to Paula, there was some minor contact between the tire of her car and another vehicle on the roadway,” said a statement from her lawyer, Neil E. Meyer. “Paula immediately took full responsibility.”

Authorities said Abdul was driving Dec. 20 on a highway in Encino, about 15 miles northwest of downtown, when she changed lanes and struck another vehicle, causing minor damage.

The driver and passenger snapped a photo with a cell phone camera and wrote down the license plate number of the car, which was traced to Abdul, Mateljan said.

Abdul is one of three judges on “American Idol,” Fox’s top-rated TV talent show.