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Jury acquits Buck

Published Sep. 3, 2005

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck sighed and wiped his brow Friday after a jury acquitted him of charges of going on a drunken rampage on a Seattle-to-London flight.

Buck, 45, was found innocent in London of assault, being drunk on an aircraft and damaging British Airways crockery last April.

His wife, Stephanie, sobbed as the verdict was read. R.E.M.'s lead singer, Michael Stipe, took off his glasses and wiped his eyes before hugging bassist Mike Mills.

Lawyer Neill Blundell read a statement on Buck's behalf outside the courthouse that said, in part, "I am grateful to the court, the jury and my lawyers, to my family, friends and supporters who have stood by me throughout this experience."

Buck declined to speak, although he replied "yes" when asked whether he'd fly home on British Airways.

The airline said it accepted the verdict and Buck is welcome to fly with it again.

Prosecutors said Buck acted like a "drunken lout" after consuming 15 glasses of wine on the flight. Among other things, they said, he covered crew members with yogurt.

Buck testified he suffered a bad reaction after taking a sleeping pill and red wine and doesn't remember his alleged actions.

Character witnesses including Stipe, Mills and U2's Bono testified that Buck is a gentle family man who does not abuse alcohol or drugs.

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