Courtney Love Battery Charges Dropped

November 7, 1995

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 7 — Grunge rock singer Courtney Love no longer faced trial on two counts of battery in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday after a judge unexpectedly dismissed her case. Judge Janice Halker dismissed the charges Monday night after agreeing with the defense that prosecutors had failed to prove their case.

Love, the widow of Seattle alternative rock star Kurt Cobain, was accused of hitting two teenaged male audience members during a March performance of her band Hole at The Edge, an Orlando nightclub. Love pleaded guilty last year to hitting a female performer in another band. The charges were dropped because it is common knowledge that Love’s concerts include intense physical interaction in what is called a mosh pit, so the teens could reasonably have expected to get hurt, Halker decided. After Halker announced her ruling, Love hugged her lawyer James Russ, patted his face, and kissed him on the cheek. She left the courtroom smiling broadly. Love allegedly had jumped off the stage and punched the boys several times because she wanted more women in the front row and they refused to move back. The only two witnesses put on the stand by prosecutors were the two alleged victims, Rob Lukas, 17, and Ryan O’Donnell, 18. During lengthy cross-examination, Russ got them to admit they were considering filing civil lawsuits against Love. O’Donnell’s father recently lost his job and he testified his family had consulted an attorney about a possible suit. Throughout the trial, Russ maintained the teens had pressed criminal charges only to aid any future lawsuits. Both boys waited several days after the concert before reporting the alleged attacks.