Emile Hirsch alleged assault case: Female film exec 'put in chokehold' at Sundance says ordeal was 'insanely painful and absolutely terrifying'

The Into the Wild star made his first court appearance on Monday

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The Independent Online

A female film executive who was allegedly put in a chokehold by Emile Hirsch described the incident as "insanely painful and absolutely terrifying", public records have shown.

Daniele Bernfield, an executive at Insurge Pictures, part of Paramount pictures, claimed the Into the Wild Actor grabbed her by the neck and pulled her across the table and onto the floor at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Hirsche made his first court appearance in Utah on Monday. He faces charges of felony assault and a misdemeanour charge of intoxication.

Court papers say that Hirsch, 30, approached Bernfeld at Tao Nightclub and asked why she looked "so tough" and allegedly called her a "rich kid who should not be at Sundance".

The Associated Press has seen public records showing Hirsch said he could not remember what happened, but claimed Ms Bernfield went at him and he acted in self-defence.

"I am fundamentally not OK with what happened," Ms Bernfeld said after the alleged incident took place. "It was insanely painful and absolutely terrifying." An unidentified witness was also recorded saying: "I have seen quite a few fights in my life, but this was pretty violent.”

She also said she may have passed out momentarily.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 (£3,200) fine if found guilty of assault.

Hirsch told police that he did not know Bernfeld prior to the alleged attack and they were having an argument. He said that he had had three or four drinks. 

The Independent has contacted Hirsch’s lawyer for comment.