Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Witherspoon's actions caught on trooper's dash-cam

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ATLANTA -- Reese Witherspoon pleaded no contest and paid a $100 fine after berating a state trooper while her husband was given a sobriety test, an embarrassing exchange caught on a dashboard camera after the squeaky-clean Hollywood star had what she called "one too many" glasses of wine.

The video, which was first obtained by TMZ and publicly released by authorities Friday, shows Witherspoon asking the trooper, "Do you know my name?" and then adding, "You're about to find out who I am."

The video offered a rare glimpse at the actress unfiltered. Witherspoon, who has built a wholesome professional image, apologized shortly after her arrest, saying she was "deeply embarrassed."

Municipal Court of Atlanta Deputy Solicitor Ronda Graham said in a statement that Witherspoon entered the plea and paid the fine, resolving the case.

During an interview with Good Morning America on Thursday, Witherspoon said she panicked and said "all kinds of crazy things," including falsely claiming that she was pregnant at one point.

In the video, the 37-year-old star of hit movies such as Walk the Line, Legally Blonde and Election argues with the trooper while he attempts to question her husband, Hollywood agent Jim Toth, on an Atlanta street during the pre-dawn hours of April 19.

Toth pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of drunken driving, Graham said. He was fined $600 and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and participate in a program for DUI offenders.

That is a "standard sentence for a first-time offender," Graham said.

In the video, Trooper First Class J. Pyland tells Witherspoon to stay in the couple's vehicle no fewer than five times. For her part, Witherspoon is equally determined to get out and engage him.

When the trooper starts to arrest her, the 5-foot-1 Witherspoon turns to yell at him while being handcuffed and accuses him of harassment.

The dash-cam video shows the situation quickly escalating. In one video clip, the trooper appears to be examining Toth when Witherspoon, out of view, starts to get out of her vehicle.

"Ma'am, get back in that car," the trooper tells her.

She apologizes, and asks if she can say something. "No ma'am," he says, "get back in that car. I'm not going to repeat myself again."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 4, 2013 G4

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