Jury convicts TV actor Diamond of misdemeanors in stabbing

Ozaukee County Sheriff via AP

TV actor Dustin Diamond was convicted Friday of two misdemeanors stemming from a barroom fight, but a Wisconsin jury cleared the former “Saved by the Bell” actor of the most serious felony charge.

The jury's verdict came just hours after the 38-year-old actor testified that he never intended to stab anyone in the fight last Christmas Day. He had pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of recklessly endangering public safety, plus two misdemeanors — carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

The first misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of nine months in prison, the second a maximum of 90 days in prison.

Diamond didn't display emotion at the jury's decision Friday night. He told reporters he couldn't comment as he left the courtroom after a 13-hour day of testimony and jury deliberations.

Diamond, who played the character Screech on the popular 1990s show, said some people had wanted to shake his hand and pose for photos at the bar, but that others were badgering him and his girlfriend, Amanda Schutz. He said he was trying to scare bar patrons in Port Washington after his girlfriend was punched in the face.

“I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes,” he said.

Witnesses testified that Schutz pushed one woman at the bar and grabbed another woman's hand, initiating the incident. Schutz also faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.

Diamond said he tried to help Schutz and took out his pocketknife to deter the group from hurting her more.

The man who was stabbed, 25-year-old Casey Smet, testified Thursday that he didn't know he had been stabbed until he had left the bar and was talking to police.

After maintaining a serious facade during most of the trial, Diamond grinned Friday when a defense attorney asked if he liked being compared to the character Screech. Diamond said he, like his character, enjoyed nerdy things. And Diamond said he liked being identified in public as the goofy television character.

“That means they love you,” Diamond said. “That means you're doing your job.”

Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol argued Friday that Diamond lied about what happened and that the actor had scripted his testimony.

Gerol showed body-camera footage of Diamond's testimony to a Port Washington police officer the night of the fight. In the video Diamond first said he might have struck Smet with a pen. In a video of testimony later that night, Diamond said he had a knife at the bar, but hadn't used it to stab anyone.

No apparent “Saved by the Bell” fans sat in the galleries during the three-day trial. But another apparent fan, Diamond's defense attorney Thomas Alberti, wrote “Good Luck to Dustin & Amanda” on his car window Wednesday ahead of the trial. Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy scolded Alberti and told him to remove it because it was “inappropriate.”

The jury also convicted Schutz with disorderly conduct Friday night. Schutz faces a maximum of 90 days in prison.

A sentencing date for Diamond and Schutz has not been announced.

Port Washington is 25 miles north of Milwaukee.

Dustin DiamondFeaturesGossipSaved by the BellScreech

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

City Attorney seeks to block contractor in Nuru scandal from obtaining government contracts

City Attorney Dennis Herrera has moved to prohibit AzulWorks, Inc. and its… Continue reading

Supes approve $2.1M settlement over sewage spills at SF’s Hall of Justice jail

San Francisco has tentatively agreed to pay out a total of $2.1… Continue reading

US backs down in fight with Harvard, MIT over student visas

The U.S. backed down from a high-profile confrontation with two elite universities… Continue reading

UCSF study finds young adult smokers at high risk of severe coronavirus

Roughly one in three young adults nationwide are at risk of contracting… Continue reading

Haney secures needed support to ask voters to create street cleaning department

Public Advocate proposal also advances toward ballot as anti-corruption measure

Most Read