Mel Gibson Says He Only Slapped Oksana

In the latest development in the ongoing legal woes between Passion of the Christ honcho Mel Gibson and his estranged baby mama, Oksana Grigorieva, TMZ reports that Gibson has admitted to slapping Grigorieva—but denies punching her, as Grigorieva alleges.

In a sworn declaration given on June 23, Gibson recounts his version of the couple’s January 6, 2010, argument, during which Grigorieva has claimed that the actor punched her in the mouth, knocking out two of her teeth. Gibson paints a lighter, but still violent, portrait of events. In the declaration, Gibson claims that the two were engaging in one of their frequent arguments at Gibson’s Malibu home when a “hysterical” Grigorieva, holding their then-two-month-old daughter Lucia in her hands, began making “rapid movements [that] were causing Lucia’s little body to be flung from one side to the other, her head shaking violently.”

Claiming that he feared that Lucia would suffer from Shaken Baby Syndrome, Gibson says that, after Grigorieva refused to cease her “rough and erratic movements,” 

“I slapped Oksana one time with an open hand in an attempt to bring her back to reality. I did not slap her hard, I was just trying to shock her so that she would stop screaming, continuing shaking Lucia back and forth…I did not hit Oksana with a closed fist, as she alleges. I did not ever punch her in the face or in the temple or anywhere else, not then or at any other time.”

In the declaration, Gibson does, however, concede that “I do not believe I handled the situation as well as I should have.”

Grigorieva filed a domestic-violence complaint over the incident, sparking an investigation in July. (The case has since bee turned over to prosecutors.) The couple is currently locked in a custody battle over Lucia.