Dustin Diamond, who rose to fame as geek sidekick Samuel “Screech” Powers on the hit 90s series Saved by the Bell, is being charged with felony second-degree reckless endangering safety, two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, and carrying a concealed weapon following what was being widely reported as a “stabbing” incident following a bar room brawl in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, on Christmas Day, according to Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone.
Diamond has claimed self-defense, arguing that the incident only took place after an argument involving his fiance and other bar patrons escalated to the point of physicality, prompting Diamond to brandish a stiletto switchblade with a 3.75-inch blade. According to some witnesses, Diamond flashed the knife in order to scare people off before putting it away and leaving with his fiance.
Tom Kertscher of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinelreports that one of the alleged victims, who admitted to shoving Diamond after the actor swung at him, hadn’t initially realized that he had been cut, but discovered that he had received a half-inch puncture wound in his right arm pit. Police arriving on the scene later described there to have been a “significant amount of blood,” but the wound was considered non-life-threatening, and was treated by ambulance personnel at his home.
Diamond initially claimed that he stabbed the man with a pen used to close out his tab, and only copped to brandishing the knife after it was discovered in his vehicle once police pulled him over. Diamond then claimed that he carried the knife for self-defense purposes. Diamond is set to appear in court Monday. If convicted, Diamond could face a maximum sentence of 10 years for the felony charge.
Since Saved by the Bell ended in 1993, Diamond has remained mired in controversy. In addition to a string of appearances in competition-based reality television shows such as Celebrity Boxing, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, and Celebrity Fit Club, Diamond toured with his on again/off again band Salty the Pocketknife, starred in a pornographic video entitled, Screeched — Saved by the Smell, and released a tell-all memoir about his experiences on Saved by the Bell called, Behind the Bell. The book was roundly panned for its sensationalist behind-the-scenes tellings, which Diamond later recanted, blaming liberties taken by his ghost writer.
Most recently, Diamond has experienced financial struggles, as his Wisconsin home has fallen into foreclosure three times in the last five years.