TV actor Dustin Diamond has insisted he did not intentionally stab a man in a Christmas Day bar scuffle as he claimed he and his girlfriend had suffered harassment before the fight broke out.
Diamond, 38, said some people had wanted to shake his hand and pose for photos at the bar in Port Washington, Wisconsin, but others were badgering him and his girlfriend Amanda Schutz.
“I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes,” Diamond, who played Screech in the 1990s show Saved By The Bell, told a court.
He has pleaded not guilty to recklessly endangering public safety. If convicted, Diamond could face up to 10 years in prison.
Diamond said he was trying to protect Ms Schutz and that he became concerned when he saw her nose “pouring blood” amid the brawl.
Bethany Ward, 25, told the court she punched Ms Schutz in the face during a confrontation, but she insisted Ms Schutz had initiated the conflict.
Diamond said he tried to help Ms Schutz and took out his pocket-knife to deter the group from further injuring her.
“I figured it would take the fight out of the people,” he said.
Diamond said he yelled out that he wanted Ms Ward and others to let his girlfriend go, and he scuffled with a man before Ms Schutz was released and both of them left the bar.
The man who was stabbed, 25-year-old Casey Smet, gave evidence today that he did not know he had been stabbed until he had left the bar and was talking to police.
Diamond said he thought Mr Smet hurt himself when he grabbed at the actor.
“Casey didn’t even know he was injured, so how would I?” Diamond told the jury.
Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol argued today that Diamond lied about what happened and the actor had scripted his evidence.
Mr Gerol showed body camera footage of Diamond’s evidence to a police officer the night of the fight.
In the video, Diamond first said he might have struck Mr Smet with a pen. In a video of testimony later that night, Diamond said he had a knife at the bar but had not used it to stab anyone.