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Controversy surrounds case in which Tom Hanks was juror

Controversy surrounds case in which Tom Hanks was juror

Tom Hanks attends the 2013 Tony Awards nominees reception in May. Photo: Associated Press/Charles Skyes/Invision/AP

Tom Hanks’ star presence on a Los Angeles jury has caused controversy after a domestic violence case was settled following allegations a prosecutor had made inappropriate contact with the actor during a court break.

The Oscar winner spent Tuesday on jury duty, listening to an argument against a man accused of striking his girlfriend.

The defendant faced a maximum of a year behind bars if convicted, but officials at the L.A. City Attorney’s Office were forced to offer a plea deal after learning a female member of the team had approached the Forrest Gump star during an interval.

The suspect was allowed to walk free on Wednesday after pleading no contest to a minor charge of disturbing the peace and paying a $150 fine.

Defense lawyer Andrew Flier tells TMZ.com, “The assigned prosecutor on the case gave notice to the court and myself, which was his duty, of course, under the ethics rules, that he either saw or was told that one of his colleagues had had contact with Mr. Hanks in the same unit, the City Attorney’s Office…

“In a brief evidentiary hearing this morning, she – she being the prosecutor who should definitely not have done what she did – said that around noon time, either yesterday or the day before, she made contact with Mr. Hanks in the stairwell of the building and she came up to him and said that she thanked him and that how impressed everyone is that such a celebrity would still be here serving jury duty. So she… was maybe a little starstruck and nice, but… it should never have happened.”