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Actor Facing Charges to Host Police Golf Tournament

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Despite recent accusations that his golf swing was employed on the wrong side of the law, Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson is scheduled to serve as celebrity host of a police-sponsored golf tournament to raise funds for the families of slain, sick or injured officers.

Nicholson, who faces criminal charges that he attacked a car with a golf club in a Studio City traffic dispute Feb. 8, is slated to host the 23rd Police-Celebrity Golf Tournament, scheduled for May 14 at the Rancho Park Golf Course in West Los Angeles.

Promotion of the tournament with Nicholson in that role had begun before the actor was charged this week with vandalism and assault by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, said LAPD Cmdr. Dave Gascon, the tournament chairman.

Gascon sidestepped questions Wednesday about the effect of the charges on Nicholson’s role. But he said he hopes that the publicity given the charges against the actor will not harm the tournament, organized by the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raised nearly half of the $446,000 it spent last year from tournament proceeds.

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The foundation provides money to the families of officers with catastrophic illnesses and has established a college scholarship fund for the children of disabled or deceased officers, he said.

“I hope that’s not lost and I’m sure Mr. Nicholson and everyone else involved want to provide some comfort for the families of these police officers,” Gascon said.

“He’s a celebrity, but he has the same rights as anyone else” to a presumption of innocence until he stands trial, Gascon said.

Sandy Bressler, Nicholson’s agent, declined to comment on whether the actor would actually play in the tournament, in which sports and show business celebrities are placed in foursomes with police officers.

Nicholson, who received a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute at a Beverly Hills reception Wednesday night, will be arraigned in a Van Nuys court March 31.

Nicholson also faces a separate civil suit by Robert Blank, 38, of Hollywood, owner of the car he allegedly hammered, shattering the windshield. Blank contended that he was injured by flying glass and that he feared for his life.


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