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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2002

Sentencing moved up after 'Baywatch' slap

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

Because he slapped an actor on a movie set three weeks ago, Hawai'i television and movie production figure George Cambra will be sentenced two months earlier than expected for his role in the 1991 fires that destroyed film production trucks owned by his competitors.

At an August hearing, U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor reluctantly put off sentencing Cambra on federal arson charges until January. She granted the postponement after one of Cambra's competitors whose trucks were burned urged Gillmor to allow Cambra to continue working to earn money to make restitution. At that hearing, Gillmor said Cambra would most likely face a sentence of 57 to 60 months in prison.

But as reported in The Advertiser last month, Cambra got into an altercation with actor Jeremy Jackson, 21, on the set of the "Baywatch" movie being filmed on the North Shore.

Gillmor made it clear yesterday that she was moving up Cambra's sentencing to Oct. 25 because of the slapping incident.

Cambra and Joseph "Joe Boy" Tavares Jr. were indicted by a federal grand jury in 1999 for burning trucks and other movie production equipment. Cambra pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and became a key witness against Tavares, who was sentenced in October 1999 to more than 15 years in prison.

Cambra's lawyer, Brook Hart, yesterday told Gillmor that Jackson was brushing his teeth as he left a trailer on the movie set Sept. 25 and spit toothpaste on the trailer steps. Hart said Cambra first politely asked Jackson not to spit on the trailer but Jackson took offense and at one point spat on Cambra.

He said Cambra responded by striking Jackson "upside the head" with the palm of his hand, not a closed fist. No police complaint was made and Jackson apologized the following day, Hart said.

Cambra told Gillmor he was "sorry for what happened'' and that he has tried to be "a model citizen" while out on bail awaiting sentencing. "If I had been aware of how serious it could get, I wouldn't have even approached him," Cambra said. "I don't even jaywalk."

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Silverberg urged Gillmor to move up Cambra's sentencing, saying Cambra "took physical acts against another that he should not have."

"In this society, you don't hit someone because they say something or spit on you," Silverberg said.