Sam Worthington charged after scuffle, hit with restraining order

Sam Worthington appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday for his arraignment in a case revolving around a Sunday altercation with a paparazzo.

The "Avatar" star, 37, was formally charged with two counts of assault in the third degree, one count of attempted assault and one count of harassment of photographer Sheng Li, whom Worthington reportedly punched in the face Sunday after Li allegedly kicked the actor's girlfriend Lara Bingle in the shin, according to TMZ.

Prosecutors said Worthington told officers he was protecting Bingle, the Associated Press reported, and Worthington's defense lawyer Stacey Richman told the judge that photographers have relentlessly followed the actor.


The action star, who was released on his own recognizance, was also given a six-month restraining order that ordered him not to contact Li in person, on the phone or through any social networks, E! reported.

Worthington could face a maximum of one year in jail if found guilty on the charges, according to E!. He's due back in court May 8, TMZ said.

Li, 37, was arrested on reckless endangerment, assault and harassment charges and is due back in court on April 1. However, Li's lawyer, Ronald Kuby, told Page Six his client was the one who was attacked by Bingle and he did not retaliate.

"Ms. Bingle was the one that attacked him," he told the column Monday at Li's arraignment. "She claims that Mr. Li was following her for four hours and then runs up and kicks her in the shins. In what world does that make any sense?"


Follow Ministry of Gossip @LATcelebs.