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Shields Leaps to Sutherland's Defense

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May 11, 2009 | 3:51pm EDT

Brooke Shields is backing Kiefer Sutherland against allegations that he instigated a violent argument with fashion designer Jack McCollough at a New York party.

The 24 star stands accused of third-degree assault after allegedly head-butting Proenza Schouler designer McCollough at a Met Costume Institute Gala after-party on the night of May 5.

McCollough accused Sutherland of leaving him with a broken nose after the altercation, in which the actor reportedly asked him to apologize for bumping into longtime friend Shields.

A spokesperson for Shields insisted last week that the actress was baffled by the incident: "Nothing happened to her. Jack did nothing inappropriate. It's not clear what caused Kiefer to do what he did."

But Shields is now defending Sutherland, insisting the earlier comments "are neither true nor authorized", reports TMZ.com.

A new statement issued on Shields' behalf on Monday reads: "(Shields) was bumped into by Jack McCollough and Kiefer Sutherland became concerned... Kiefer has always been a gentleman in her company."

Meanwhile, Sutherland's attorney Michael Miller has issued a statement in the actor's defense: "We are troubled by the untruthful and self-serving information circulating regarding Kiefer Sutherland and events of last Monday evening. We are confident, however, that the investigation being conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD will confirm that Kiefer Sutherland was neither the instigator nor a wrongdoer in this incident."

Sutherland, who is currently under a probation order in Los Angeles relating to a 2007 conviction for driving under the influence, faces a $1,000 fee and up to a year in jail if convicted of the third-degree assault charge.

His arraignment is scheduled for June 22 at Manhattan Criminal Court.

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