Dustin Diamond Guilty: ‘Saved By The Bell’ Star Convicted Of Bar Stabbing, But Avoids Most Serious Charge

Dustin Diamond was convicted Friday of two misdemeanor charges related to a barroom stabbing, but the Saved By The Bell actor avoided a third charge that could have landed him in prison for a decade.

Diamond had been accused of stabbing a man on a fight on Christmas Day, but pleaded not guilty to charges of carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct, and a felony count of recklessly endangering public safety.

The 38-year-old actor was convicted of the two misdemeanor charges after a trial in which he testified that other patrons were harassing him and his fiance, Amanda Schutz.

“I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes,” he said.

After Schutz pushed a woman and grabbed another, she was then punched in the face herself. Diamond said he then pulled out a pocket knife to stop the group from hurting his fiance any more. He ended up stabbing 25-year-old Casey Smet.

Though Diamond appeared serious throughout the trial — and even broke out in hives during an initial court appearance — on the stand he smiled when a defense attorney asked if he liked when people brought up his iconic character, Screech.

“That means they love you,” Diamond said. “That means you’re doing your job.”

The trial comes amid a difficult stretch for the former child actor. Since appearing on Saved By The Bell and a string of spin-off series, Diamond has struggled with finances, and in 2006 pleaded with fans to help pay a mortgage to avoid losing his home to foreclosure.

In an interview with Howard Stern, Diamond admitted that he had fallen on hard times.

“I’m doing great with my comedy, but this is definitely a low point,” he said. “Real life comes in and affects you.”

Diamond also wrote a tell-all book about his time on Saved By The Bell, detailing drug use and hook-ups among his fellow actors. He also had a controversial appearance on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club and tried his hand at celebrity boxing.

In the years since he moved out of acting, Diamond has made a name for himself on the stand-up comedy circuit, and often goes on tours.

After his arrest, Diamond said he was content with his new path in show business.

“Here’s the way I look at it. I walk a very honest and humble path, and I know what kind of person I am. I’m very comfortable where I fit in life,” he said. “I want to have a family. I want to have kids and I want to raise them right. I’m playing comedy clubs. I’m not rich, but I make a living. I’ve tripped and fallen many times in my life. If you don’t, how do you learn?”

Dustin Diamond could have faced up to 10 years in prison had he been convicted of the felony charge.

[Image via Getty Images/Dustin Phelps]

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