By ANDREA WEIGL, Staff Writer
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Actor turns heads at sentencing Joshua Jackson of “Dawson’s Creek” fame is sentenced in a drinking incident
RALEIGH — The Wake County courthouse was abuzz with “Pacey” sightings Wednesday morning as “Dawson’s Creek” actor Joshua Jackson appeared on criminal charges related to drunken behavior at a hockey game.
Jackson, 24, was accepted into an alcohol education diversionary program after admitting being drunk and disruptive at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game on Nov. 9. Jackson plays the sensitive party boy named “Pacey” on the TV show, which has been filmed mostly in Wilmington during its six-year run. The last episode airs May 14.
Jackson was originally charged with being drunk and disruptive by fighting and simple assault for allegedly grabbing a security guard around the neck and striking him. After Jackson was arrested, he was tested at the jail and his blood alcohol content showed 0.14.
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the simple assault charge and amend the drunk and disruptive charge by omitting the fighting allegation. “The District Attorney’s office was really reasonable about this,” said Jackson’s lawyer, Brad Bannon of Raleigh. “We thought it was the most appropriate outcome under the circumstances.”
As part of the diversionary program, Jackson will have to attend 15 hours of alcohol and substance abuse education, which costs $150, and complete 24 hours of community service. Jackson also will have to remain gainfully employed and not be convicted of any misdemeanor or felony charges while in the program.
If Jackson completes all the requirements by Oct. 9, prosecutors will dismiss the drunk and disruptive charge. Jackson can then seek to have the charge expunged from his record.
Before Jackson showed up Wednesday morning, courthouse regulars eagerly awaited his appearance, securing seats inside and outside courtroom 2D.
Summer McClanahan, 19, and her mother, Robyn, 41, both of Willow Spring, heard from a deputy that there was a treat on the second floor for all “Dawson’s Creek” fans. As the pair waited in line to handle their traffic ticket, Summer McClanahan spotted the television star, dressed in a black overcoat and blue suit, seated on a bench outside the courtrooms.
“Oh, there he is,” she said. “How cool is that?”
Brian Hicks, 29, of Clayton, got a pleasant surprise as he walked up to the second floor. “He was polite enough to hold the door open for me,” Hicks said. “I think that says something about his character.”
Standing before Wake District Court Judge Paul Gessner, Jackson respectfully answered questions.
“Are you Mr. Jackson?” the judge asked.
“Yes, I am,” the actor replied.
After reading the details of the negotiated plea agreement, Gessner asked, “Any questions about the program?”
Jackson said: “No. We got those all cleared up.”
“Anything else?” Gessner asked.
“Thank you, your honor,” Jackson said.
Meanwhile outside the courtroom, several female courthouse employees had stolen away from their posts to catch a glimpse of Jackson as he left. Seeing the women, Deputy K. Steinberger commented: “This is so sad.”
The women had to look fast because the actor and his lawyer quickly exited the courtroom through a side door and made a discreet dash to the stairwell.