Finley's wife arrested on spousal abuse charges

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Actress Tawny Kitaen was charged with spousal abuse and battery after authorities said she attacked her husband, Cleveland Indians pitcher Chuck Finley, as the two were driving home from dinner.

The charges were revealed Wednesday, hours before Finley was scheduled to make his season debut against the Anaheim Angels, the team for which he pitched for 14 seasons.

He was replaced by rookie Ryan Drese, who earned his second major league victory, defeating the Angels 6-5 at Anaheim.

"He did not feel like he could make it to the ballpark, wouldn't be able to pitch," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said of Finley.

Kitaen, meanwhile, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon but did not appear in court, prosecutors said. She told court officials she was ill and remained in a cell at the Orange County jail during her scheduled court appearance. Her arraignment was continued to April 29.

Kitaen was released several hours later and left in a limousine without speaking to reporters.

If convicted of the two misdemeanor counts, she faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

These are not the only charges that she is facing. According to Thursday's Orange County Register, court records show that Kitaen was arrested on Dec. 13 on a charge of malicious damage for allegedly using a key to scratch a Chevrolet Suburban on both sides after a parking dispute in Newport Beach, Calif. She will be arraigned on that charge on April 18.

She was arrested Monday night after arguing with Finley as they drove home from dinner, said Tori Richards, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office. Richards said Finley was driving when Kitaen began kicking him with her high-heeled shoes.

"She kicked him in the thigh, in the leg, in the arm, she grabbed his ear and twisted it," Richards said. "At one point, her high-heel shoe was on top of his foot pressing the accelerator to the ground."

A third party called 911 after the couple arrived at their Newport Beach home, Richards said. Kitaen was arrested after police saw abrasions and scrapes on her husband's body.

A judge issued a restraining order against Kitaen, ordering her to have no contact with her husband. Richards said Kitaen will live in the Newport Beach home, while Finley will stay elsewhere.

Shapiro said he expects Finley, 39, to rejoin the Indians when the team begins a three-game series in Detroit on Friday.

"What he's going through are the regular ups and downs people go through in their personal life," Shapiro said. "His priority right now is his family. My sentiment to him was to take as much time as he needed to tend to his personal matters."

Team spokesman Bart Swain said Finley was not scheduled to pitch in Detroit. He said the earliest the pitcher would take the mound was a home game next week against Minnesota.

Kitaen, whose real name is Julie, married Finley in 1997. They have two daughters.

The 40-year-old actress, who is best known for her role in the Tom Hanks movie "Bachelor Party," has also appeared in such TV shows as "Seinfeld," "Married ... with Children," and "The Howard Stern Show."

She was previously married to David Coverdale, lead singer for the British heavy metal band Whitesnake.

O.J. Simpson testified that he had a yearlong affair with the actress. Her name appeared on the witness list for Simpson's murder trial in 1995, but she was not called. Nor was she called as a witness during the wrongful death lawsuit filed against Simpson two years later.

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