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'P.R. Princess' Pleads Guilty

Lizzie Grubman, the Manhattan publicist who created more headlines than her star-studded roster of clients, pleaded guilty Friday in a hit-and-run accident that left 16 people injured outside a Hamptons nightclub.

Grubman, 31, will likely receive two months in jail, 280 hours of community service and five years probation under a plea bargain agreement reached last weekend. She was released on bail pending her Oct. 23 sentencing.

Grubman remained composed during the 10-minute hearing in a Long Island courtroom, providing only yes and no answers as she pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

At one point, after flubbing an answer about what happened on the night of the crash, Grubman offered an apology: ``I'm very nervous.''

Grubman, whose father Allen is a well-known Manhattan entertainment attorney, had faced up to seven years in prison if convicted of the most serious of the original charges. She pleaded innocent last September to a 26-count indictment on felony charges of assault, vehicular assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

She was also charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor.

Grubman left the Suffolk County courthouse surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards, family members and friends. She made a brief statement outside the courthouse, apologizing to her victims.

Prosecutor Joy Watson said that Grubman received no preferential treatment in the plea deal.

``Not at all,'' said Watson. ``I think she was treated like anyone else. I didn't even know who she was when I took this case.''

Grubman will spend her two months in the Suffolk County Jail, rubbing elbows with other Long Island inmates. Press speculation that she might be placed in an alternative facility for drunken drivers did not happen because she did not admit to driving while intoxicated.

Witnesses said Grubman became upset when a bouncer asked her to move her SUV from a fire lane. The bouncer, Scott Conlon, claimed that Grubman called him ``white trash'' before slamming her car into reverse and careening into the crowd.

The July 7, 2001, crash injured 16 people, scattering them across the ground outside the Conscience Point Inn. Grubman was whisked away from the scene in another vehicle. By the time police tracked her down, it was too late for her to take a breathalyzer test.

The victims suffered injuries ranging from broken bones to cuts and bruises.

Attorneys on both sides began negotiating months ago to keep the case from reaching a trial that promised to be a media circus. Word of an agreement leaked out last weekend.

Grubman was one of Manhattan's highest-profile publicists, with clients that at times included singer Britney Spears, rappers Jay-Z and Wu-Tang Clan, and Sony Music Chairman Tommy Mottola.

The crash exacerbated tensions between locals on the east end of Long Island and the out-of-towners who arrive every summer. The seasonal crowd is often regarded as rude and condescending to year-round residents, with Grubman held up as the poster child for such behavior.

Grubman had insisted that she was sober and the crash was an accident.

Until the crash, the publicist was a regular in the Hamptons party scene. On the day of the crash, she was on the town with her friend and client, actress Tara Reid.

Oddly enough, she also represented the Southampton nightclub where the accident occurred.

While the plea ended Grubman's criminal woes, she could still be spending plenty of time in court. At least eight crash victims' civil lawsuits, seeking millions of dollars, are still pending against Grubman.