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Charlie Sheen sentenced for attacking wife

Actor Charlie Sheen was sentenced today after pleading guilty to attacking his wife in a Christmas Day argument in exchange for the withdrawal of more serious charges.

Sheen, the star of TV's Two And A Half Men, was given 30 days in a rehabilitation centre, 30 days' probation and 36 hours of anger management. He has 30 days to report to the Promises Treatment Centre in California.

Colorado prosecutors dropped a felony menacing charge and a criminal mischief charge in exchange for Sheen's plea on a count of misdemeanour assault.

The charges stem from a Christmas Day 2009 dispute with his wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen.

Sheen, 44, had been due to plead guilty at a hearing in June, but that hit a problem over terms of a proposed work release programme. His lawyer, Yale Galanter, had said that a plea deal called for Sheen to serve 30 days in jail.

Sheen, dressed in a dark suit, shirt and purple tie, entered the Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen, Colorado, after waving and blowing kisses to the crowd outside and flashing a peace sign.

Brooke Mueller Sheen had told police that the actor threatened to kill her after she told him she wanted a divorce. She said he straddled her on a bed with one hand on her neck and the other hand holding a knife.

Sheen told police he and his wife had argued but denied threatening her. He told officers they slapped each other on the arms and that he had snapped two pairs of her eyeglasses in front of her, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Sheen said he was upset by the divorce threat. He previously went through a bitter divorce and custody battle with his ex-wife Denise Richards.

Within a week of Sheen's arrest, he and Mueller Sheen both said they wanted to reconcile. In February, they hugged in an Aspen court after a judge modified a restraining order that kept them from contacting each other.

Since the incident, both have completed alcohol rehab programmes, and Mr Galanter has said they have been sober for months.

Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents a former Aspen police officer who responded to the Christmas Day call, said after the hearing that she was appalled by the outcome.

"The sentence was absolutely laughable and unacceptable," said Ms Allred, who represents former Officer Valerie McFarlane. Ms McFarlane no longer is with the police department.

"Spousal assault and battery is a very serious crime and needs to have serious consequences," Ms Allred said.

It was not the first run-in with the law for Sheen, the star of films such as Major League, Platoon, Wall Street and Hot Shots! He agreed last month to return to Two And A Half Men for two more seasons.

In December 1996 he was charged with attacking a girlfriend at his Southern California home. He later pleaded no contest and was placed on two years' probation.

In 1998, his father, actor Martin Sheen, turned him in for breaking his parole after a cocaine overdose sent him to hospital. He was ordered to undergo a rehabilitation programme.