MTV's 'Snooki' fined $500 for annoying beachgoers
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) -- Calling her "a Lindsay Lohan wannabe," a judge fined "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi $500 on Wednesday and ordered her to perform community service after she pleaded guilty to disturbing others on a beach in July.
Her lawyer said Polizzi was under the influence of alcohol when she stumbled around the beach in Seaside Heights, using loud language that disturbed other beachgoers.
Municipal Court Judge Damian G. Murray lectured Polizzi, borrowing from Dean Wermer's speech to Flounder in the movie "Animal House" in which the dean admonished the wayward student that "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life."
"Rude, profane, obnoxious and self-indulgent is not the way to live your life," the judge told Polizzi. "If this was your idea of a good time, it appears your recent celebrity has affected your judgment."
The judge also questioned whether Polizzi had staged the event for the show. Cameras were rolling as she stumbled around the beach on July 30.
"It was not scripted, sir," Polizzi replied.
Her lawyer, Raymond Raya, told the judge that Polizzi had had a few drinks "and was under the influence of some alcohol, and stumbled and tripped into people on the beach. She used loud language on the beach and interfered with the public's right to quiet enjoyment of the beach."
As part of a negotiated plea deal, Polizzi pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with the quiet enjoyment of the beach — essentially disturbing the peace. Charges of disorderly conduct and criminal annoyance of others were dropped. Raya and municipal prosecutor Kim Pascarella agreed Polizzi's conduct on the beach that day did not rise to the level of a crime.
"I would definitely like to apologize to the Seaside cops," Polizzi said in court. "This is not like me. I've never been in this situation before. I'd definitely like to apologize to anybody I hurt."
The judge fined her $500, plus $33 in court costs, and sentenced her to two days of community service. He gave her credit for one day of community service, which she spent quietly on Sunday at Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey, a facility for abused or neglected animals run by the Associated Humane Societies. While there, she cleaned out cages, petted and fed animals, Raya said.
The zoo's general manager gave Polizzi a graham cracker — the favorite treat of its camel, Princess, who is famous for her ability to pick the winners of National Football League games — and told her to approach the animal with the treat in her mouth. She did so, and Princess took it from her mouth and "gave her a kiss," Raya said.
The remaining day of community service will be served in the next few weeks with the public works department, though the exact assignment has not yet been determined.
Raya said that after downing a few drinks on July 30, Polizzi was stumbling around the beach, and at one point ran toward the ocean, with her friends calling her to come back. She did not want to, and defiantly sat down on the sand, Raya said. A crowd that quickly swelled to 300 surrounded her, yelling things — all while MTV cameras were rolling.
Raya said neither he nor Polizzi knows whether the network plans to show that footage when the third season of "Jersey Shore" begins airing in January. Filming recently wrapped.
But the lawyer said the 22-year-old Poughkeepsie, N.Y., resident was rattled that day by the constant presence of cameras, a crowd trailing after her, and of course, the drinks.
"Judge, this was a bad day," he said. "I think we all have those days."
Outside the courtroom, Raya said the judge's comparison of Polizzi to the oft-arrested Lohan was unwarranted and unfair.
"This is what I would say is an anomaly in an otherwise well-lived life," he said.
Polizzi did not speak to reporters as she raced to a white sport utility vehicle outside the court and sped away.
But on her Twitter page, she wrote afterward, "Ah never again! So scary ... thank you judge for understanding, I'm very thankful for that!"
In her haste to flee the court, Polizzi left behind her credit card, which she had used to pay her fine, prompting a court employee to run after her with it.
"Jersey Shore" chronicles the carryings-on of a group of hard-partying 20-somethings — most of whom are from New York — at a beach house on the Seaside Heights boardwalk.
It has offended Italian-American groups but remains one of MTV's highest-rated shows. The cast was taping the third season in Seaside Heights.
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