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Mel Gibson's drunken driving conviction erased

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mel Gibson's criminal record was cleared on Tuesday when a California judge expunged his drunken driving conviction from a 2006 arrest that led to accusations of anti-Semitism over the actor's comments to a policeman.

Gibson, the Oscar-winning actor and director of "Braveheart," fulfilled his court-ordered obligation to attend meetings for recovering alcoholics and perform public service work as part of his conviction for driving under the influence.

"He does not appear to be on any sort of probation or facing any similar charges," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira. "The request is granted."

Gibson's 2006 arrest in Malibu gained massive media and public attention after a leaked police report quoted him as making anti-Semitic statements to the arresting officer, who is Jewish.

"Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Gibson was quoted as saying.

Gibson apologized for the remark after it was made public, but the Anti-Defamation League, which combats discrimination against Jews and other groups, said his apology did not go far enough. And some in Hollywood also criticized him, including prominent talent agent Ari Emanuel.

The controversy over Gibson's statements came at a sensitive time for him, because some Jewish groups had expressed concern that his 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" contained potentially inflammatory depictions of Jews.

Following his 2006 arrest, Gibson admitted to driving 87 miles per hour with an open bottle of tequila in his hand. He had a 0.12 percent blood alcohol content, and the legal limit is .08.

Gibson was eligible to have his criminal convictions erased from his record because he successfully completed probation and maintained a clean driving record.

But his 2006 drunken driving conviction could still expose Gibson to enhanced charges if he is ever arrested again for driving under the influence.

Gibson did not appear at Tuesday's brief court hearing. (Editing by Eric Beech)

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