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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008, 05:40 GMT
Assault rap for rough handshake
A handshake
The lawyer could face up to a year in jail for her vigorous handshake
A Florida lawyer has been charged with assault for over-vigorously shaking the hand of a fellow attorney.

Kathy Brewer Rentas, 49, shook the hand of Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Keene so hard her arm was nearly ripped out of its socket, a court official said.

Moments before, Ms Keene successfully prosecuted Ms Brewer Rentas' husband.

Anthony Rentas was accused of violating the terms of a probation order for supplying cocaine, and sentenced to 90 days of house arrest.

After the hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Mrs Brewer Rentas insisted on shaking the prosecuting lawyer's hand.

In shaking it, she nearly floored Ms Keene with the vigour of her hand-action.

The strong arm of the lawyer

"With Keene in hand, Brewer made an upward, then a quick downward motion and pulled Keene toward the ground moving her forward, almost causing Keene to fall to the ground," said a court security officer.

Alicia Valle, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office, said assaulting a federal officer was a serious matter and that Mrs Brewer Rentas would be prosecuted "vigorously".

"As a member of the bar, she should know better," she said.

Mrs Brewer Rentas was freed on Friday on $100,000 (50,000) bail, after spending a night in solitary confinement, and ordered to undergo psychological examination.

She was also ordered to stay away from Mrs Keene, and faces up to a year in prison if convicted of assault.

Mrs Brewer Rentas says she did not intend to cause any harm.

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