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Woody Harrelson involved in altercation at Watergate Hotel, police say

Actor Woody Harrelson greets fans on Capitol Hill on Sept. 29 in D.C. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Actor Woody Harrelson was involved in a physical altercation Wednesday night and struck a man who lunged at him at the rooftop bar of the Watergate Hotel, a D.C. police spokesman said.

No charges have been filed, and the police spokesman, Dustin Sternbeck, said investigators said they think Harrelson acted “in self-defense.”

Harrelson has been in Washington shooting an HBO series called “The White House Plumbers,” about the Nixon administration’s Watergate scandal and the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office building. He plays E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA officer who helped organize the break-in.

The incident Wednesday happened minutes after 11 p.m. at the Top of the Gate bar at the famed hotel on Virginia Avenue NW, overlooking the Potomac River.

Sternbeck said a man who police think had been drinking was taking photos of Harrelson and his daughter. The spokesman said Harrelson “approached the man and requested him to delete the photos.”

Sternbeck said that an argument followed and that the man “lunged at Woody Harrelson.” According to a police report, Harrelson told police that the man tried to grab his neck and that he punched the man to defend himself.

Police said the man then retreated to his room.

Authorities said that there were many witnesses and that they are continuing to investigate. Harrelson’s publicist did not comment on the altercation.

Harrelson is an Emmy award-winning actor who became a star for his work on the television series “Cheers.” He has been nominated for an Oscar three times, once for best actor, and twice for best supporting actor. Among his recent movies is “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Karen Heller contributed to this report.