Actor convicted in abuse case

Former Hollywood madam pleased with jury's verdict

Sunday, August 17, 2003

— Actor Tom Sizemore was convicted Friday of one count of physically abusing former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and several charges of harassing and annoying her, but was acquitted of 10 other counts.

The 41-year-old actor, who played an Army soldier in "Black Hawk Down" and "Saving Private Ryan," faces up to four years in prison, although he was found not guilty of three of the most serious charges.

"I would like to put this behind me and do what I have always loved doing, making movies," Sizemore, who is free on $100,000 bail, said outside court.

The actor was tried on 16 counts of injuring, threatening and harassing Fleiss as well as vandalism.

"The whole thing is very ugly to me," Fleiss told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after the verdicts. "I loved that man and I was very good to him and what he did to me was wrong. "

Fleiss said she was pleased that Sizemore was held accountable and that her feeling about Sizemore now is "I want to pretend I never met him."

Deputy City Atty. Robert Cha said the convictions were meaningful.

"The message is that regardless of your socio-economic status, and regardless of how the public perceives you, and regardless of celebrity, if there is corporal infliction of violence on a woman and it is supported, we will file it and aggressively prosecute it," Cha said.

Cha said he would make a sentencing recommendation when the actor returned to court Oct. 2. In the interim, he said, he will decide what to do about another case in which Sizemore is accused of seven counts of domestic violence involving another woman.

The judge urged attorneys to resolve both cases.


AP Photo

Actor Tom Sizemore gets into a waiting car after attending the reading of the verdict in a case alleging physical abuse of Heidi Fleiss. Sizemore was convicted in Los Angeles of one count of physically abusing the former Hollywood madam. Sizemore also was convicted of several charges of harassing Fleiss, but was acquitted of other counts.

During six days of testimony the jury heard angry and obscene messages left by Sizemore on Fleiss' answering machine and accounts of violent fights and of the actor smashing things.

The jury cleared Sizemore of three charges of inflicting corporal injury, but he was found guilty of a fourth count stemming from an April 8, 2002, incident in which Fleiss said he punched her in the jaw at a Beverly Hills hotel. The prosecution had pictures of the injuries taken by a friend.

The jury also found him guilty of one count of making a criminal threat to Fleiss which put her in fear of her safety, but the panel acquitted him of making other similar threats. Sizemore also was found guilty of making obscene phone calls and of minor vandalism.

Fleiss, 37, who gained notoriety in the 1990s, began a two-year relationship with Sizemore after serving 21 months in prison for money laundering, tax evasion and attempted pandering.

She testified that Sizemore violently abused her.

She claimed she didn't immediately report the abuse because "I was on parole, the convicted criminal, and he was the all-American guy and could send me back to prison, which was the worst thing that could happen to me."

Sizemore did not testify. His defense portrayed Fleiss to the jury as a liar, a "pseudo-celebrity" who was trying to extort the actor.