Sheen pleads not guilty to domestic charges in Aspen
March 16, 2010
ASPEN – Actor Charlie Sheen pleaded not guilty Monday to domestic charges stemming from an alleged Christmas Day altercation with his wife in Aspen, setting the stage for a trial in July.
Sheen, dressed in a black suit and wearing horned-rim glasses and a loosened tie, appeared in Pitkin County District Court flanked by a new member of his defense team, Los Angeles attorney Steve Cochran, and his publicist, Stan Rosenfield.
Through Aspen defense lawyer Richie Cummins, the 44-year-old Sheen pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of menacing, and separate misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and criminal mischief.
Prosecutors say Sheen, the star of the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” held his wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen, at knife-point on Dec. 25 at the West End home in which they were staying.
Mueller Sheen did not attend Monday’s hearing, during which time District Judge James Boyd scheduled a jury trial for July 21-23.
While Cummins remains the lead defense attorney on the case, Cochran appears poised to take it over pending the approval of a motion that seeks to allow him to represent Sheen in Colorado. The motion must be approved by the state Supreme Court.
Cochran is licensed to practice law in California, and is a partner with the firm KattenMuchinRosenman LLP.
According to his firm’s website, Cochran has worked in both civil litigation and criminal defense law. He was part of Michael Jackson’s defense team in the child molestation case against the late pop star, and has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a top lawyer in America in the field of criminal defense.
Before the hearing, Sheen struck up a brief conversation with a Pitkin County jailer. Afterward, he shook hands with prosecutor Arnold Mordkin before leaving the courtroom.
“Charlie is looking forward to the opportunity to clear his name,” said Rosenfield, the publicist.
The class-five felony menacing count against Sheen, who is being charged under his birth name, Carlos Irwin Estevez, carries the most weight. If convicted of that charge, Sheen faces a state prison sentence of one to three years.
The felony menacing count stems from allegations that Sheen held his wife at knife-point and told her, “You better be in fear. If you tell anybody, I’ll kill you. Your mother’s money means nothing. I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done, and they won’t leave any trace.”