Crowe Lawyers Seek Lesser Charges

Actor Russell Crowe poses at the Venice Film Festival in Venice's Lido, northern Italy, Monday, Sept. 5, 2005.
Russell Crowe's lawyers are trying for a reduction of an assault charge — filed after he allegedly hurled a phone at a New York hotel staffer — so he can work in the U.S., an Australian magazine reported Wednesday.

The 41-year-old Oscar-winning actor, born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, was charged with felony assault after he was accused of throwing a malfunctioning telephone at hotel concierge Nestor Estrada in June.

If convicted, Crowe could lose his right to work in the United States.

The assault charge is punishable by seven years in prison.

In an interview published Wednesday by The Bulletin magazine, Crowe said his lawyers are working to have the felony charge reduced to a less serious misdemeanor.

But even that could lead to immigration hassles, Crowe said.

"Every time I apply for a visa, it's like you need a suitcase into the embassy," he said, referring to the amount of paperwork required. "So to add this charge, even as a misdemeanor level ... basically stops me getting certain types of visa."

However, Crowe — who has a history of explosive outbursts — said he is prepared to accept his fate.

"If I'm an international menace like the (prosecuting) attorney is suggesting, then fine," Crowe said from his home in Sydney. "I'll just stay here."

Last month, he reached an undisclosed settlement with Estrada.

Prosecutors also charged Crowe with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon — the telephone.

Crowe, who is free on his own recognizance, had been scheduled to return to court in the United States this month, but said his case had been deferred until November.

Crow won an Oscar for his role in the 2000 film "Gladiator." He plays a boxer in his latest movie, "Cinderella Man."