Dustin Diamond, the actor best known for playing Screech on the iconic sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” is opening up about what it was like to serve three months in jail following his conviction in connection with a stabbing at a bar.
“It’s not like what you see on TV, I’ll tell you that,” the 39-year-old said in an interview with Mario Lopez on “Extra.” “It’s pretty daunting, pretty scary going into that environment.”
Diamond, 39, allegedly stabbed a 25-year-old man in a Port Washington, Wisconsin, bar on Christmas Day in 2014, according to a police report. The scuffle was captured on video.
Diamond was found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct after a three-day trial in June 2015. Both charges are misdemeanors.
Diamond maintains that he never thrust the knife and stabbed anyone, telling Lopez that he had his pocket knife out when “a guy came from around me and grabbed my throat,” adding: “And so he nicked his arm on the tip of it.”
The actor argued he was trying to protect his fiancée, Amanda Schutz, saying she had been punched in the face after she tried to stop a group of people who were trying to take pictures of him. Schutz was also convicted on disorderly conduct charges.
Diamond was sentenced to four months’ jail time but released last month -- one month early -- for good behavior that included performing janitorial work, cleaning floors and doing laundry.
The actor is focused now on his future.
“I’ve been doing it – acting and performing -- since I was eight years old,” he said. “So it’s really my bread and butter. I’m getting to the point where I want to put the tomfoolery and malarkey behind me. You know? It’s time for that clean slate.”
Diamond's full interview with "Extra" airs today and Thursday.