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Emile Hirsch due back in court on assault charges

Actor Emile Hirsch is due back in a Utah court Monday for a hearing on assault charges stemming from a nightclub incident during the Sundance Film Festival.

The "Into the Wild" star is accused of putting a studio executive in a chokehold Jan. 25 at Tao Nightclub in Park City while in Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. He is charged with felony aggravated assault and intoxication.

A judge set the afternoon preliminary hearing in Park City so prosecutors could lay out their evidence against Hirsch, or for the two sides to present a plea deal if one has been reached.

Daniele Bernfeld, an executive for the Paramount Pictures subsidiary Insurge Pictures, described the incident as being "insanely painful and absolutely terrifying," according to public records obtained by The Associated Press. Bernfeld told police that Hirsch put her in a chokehold from behind, dragged her across a table and body slammed her to the floor, records show.

Hirsch was slurring his words that struggling to balance, the reports show, and said he had three or four drinks. He told police he couldn't remember exactly what happened, but acknowledged "mouthing off" a bit with Bernfeld and then defending himself when she came at him.

The 30-year-old from Encino, California, has made two court appearances in Park City, but has not entered a plea or made any comments outside court. His attorneys have said that Hirsch entered rehab within days of the incident.

Hirsch was at Sundance for the premiere of the drama "Ten Thousand Saints." He is best known for his starring role in "Into the Wild" and has also appeared in Universal's Navy SEAL drama "Lone Survivor," Peter Berg's account of a disastrous 2005 military operation in Afghanistan.

The felony assault charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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