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    Crowe Cops to Telephone Tossing

    Russell Crowe has hung up his telephone-tantrum case.

    The Oscar-winning thesp pleaded guilty to third-degree assault Friday, copping to hurling a phone and hitting a Manhattan hotel concierge back in June.

    Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Kathryn Freed sentenced Crowe to a conditional discharge, meaning that he must behave himself for a year--or at least avoid arrest--or else face jail time. The actor was also slapped with a $160 court surcharge, which his lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, said would be taken care of immediately.

    Crowe did not speak in the courtroom except to answer in the affirmative to a number of questions. At the conclusion of the case, he exited via the back of the courtroom and sped away in a black SUV.

    "My client has admitted he overreacted and he is very happy to have this resolved and move on with his life," Lefcourt told the judge. The legal eagle said Crowe would be departing for Down Under later in the day.

    At the time of his phone-rage incident, Crowe claimed to have been having trouble reaching wife Danielle Spencer in Australia, and took out his frustration on Nestor Estrada, who was manning the night desk at the Mercer Hotel.

    In his rage, Crowe threw the offending telephone, catching Estrada in the face. The clerk was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for cuts to his cheek, while Crowe was taken into custody and charged with felony second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon (the telephone).

    Had Crowe been found guilty of those more serious offenses, he could have faced jail time and lost his right to work in the United States.

    Assistant District Attorney Chad Sjoquist told the judge the prosecution had agreed to a plea bargain because Crowe had no prior criminal record.

    Despite the reduced charge, the New York Post quotes a federal immigration official saying Crowe's status may be reconsidered.

    "Convictions involving moral turpitude can result in a review of immigration status," Marc Raimondi, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, told the Post.

    "When that's said and done, we'll review it at that point, but we're not focusing undue attention on his situation. We'll deal with it appropriately--I don't think we're going to be waiting outside of the courthouse for him."

    The Cinderella Man star previously reached an undisclosed settlement with Estrada in August. He also took to The Late Show with David Letterman to publicly express his shame over the incident.

    "This is possibly the most shameful situation that I've ever gotten myself in in my life, and I've done some pretty dumb things in my life," Crowe said.

    No argument there. The hot-tempered actor has made headlines several times over the years for antics such as allegedly biting his bodyguard's ear (an act which he denied), accosting BAFTA director Malcolm Gerrie for editing out part of his 2002 Best Actor speech (an act he apologized for) and head-butting a New Zealand businessman in a restaurant in a dispute over a woman (an act both men laughed off).

    Looks like phone etiquette's not the only issue Crowe needs to work on.

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