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Actor Eric Roberts released from jail

NEW YORK -- Actor Eric Roberts was released from jail Friday pending a hearing next month on charges of drug possession and assaulting a policeman who told Roberts to stop banging on the door to a woman's apartment.

Manhattan crimlinal Court Judge Richard Lowe said Roberts was released on his own recognizance until the January hearing.

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Roberts' lawyers said their client wants to testify before a grand jury about the charges.

'I feel fine, thank you very much for your concern,' said Roberts as he left the court wearing a gray jacket, black polo shirt, black jeans and black cowboy boots.

The actor is best known for his performances in 'The Pope of Greenwich Village,' and 'King of the Gypsies.'

Roberts' release was delayed for an hour during court arguments over whether cameras would be allowed at the hearing. The judge finally approved the taking of photographs.

At one point, a young woman said to be Roberts' girlfriend tried to pass him a hand-written note but bailiffs refused to deliver it.

The 31-year-old actor was charged Thursday with second-degree assault and criminal trespass as well as possession of cocaine and marijuana.

He was arrested at 2:45 a.m. Thursday outside the second-floor apartment of Elizabeth Greenberg after after a woman who lived in the building flagged down a patrol car and told officers a man was banging on Greenberg's apartment, said police spokesman Sgt. John Venetucci.

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'He met this lady at a party a year ago and the lady didn't remember him,' said officer Janice Swinney.

Officers called to the scene found Roberts intoxicated, Venetucci said.

As police led him out of the apartment building, he threw a punch at one policeman and missed, then hit another policeman in the shoulder, authorities said.

Officer Brian O'Neill charged that the actor 'caused him substantial pain and contusions' during the struggle on the way out of the building, authorities said.

Police said Roberts had a small amount of cocaine on him and a marijuana cigarette as well as a plastic bag containing that marijuana.

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