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Friday, May 15, 1998 Published at 02:53 GMT 03:53 UK


Court fines George Michael for 'lewd' act
image: [ George Michael spoke out about his sexuality after his arrest ]
George Michael spoke out about his sexuality after his arrest

The British-born millionaire pop singer George Michael has been fined $810 (£500) after being convicted of a "lewd act" in a Los Angeles lavatory.

[ image: Judge Charles Rubin passes sentence on the singer]
Judge Charles Rubin passes sentence on the singer
A Los Angeles court also ordered him to undergo psychological counselling and carry out 80 hours community service.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

The star did not appear for the hearing at Beverly Hills Municipal Court. His lawyer Ira Reiner entered a "no contest" plea on his behalf.

The plea is treated under Californian law as a guilty plea.

The BBC's Clive Myrie reports from Los Angeles (1'16")
During sentencing Judge Charles Rubin said: "The court is concerned he does not get into this situation again."

The judge then ordered him to seek psychiatric help and banned him from Will Rogers State Park where he was found to have committed the offence.

Michael, 34, was arrested on April 7 by an undercover policeman who says he exposed himself.

[ image: The scene of the arrest]
The scene of the arrest
Mr Reiner, former top prosecutor in LA County, said: "He can choose the counsellor and will have to talk about what happened, obviously with the aim that he should not commit the same offence again.

"We will be looking at how the community service order is carried out, but Mr Michael has obviously close involvement with Aids charity and education work. I think he could well do something in that direction."

After his arrest Michael acknowledged that he was gay and said he was embarrassed by the incident.

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