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Friday, November 11, 2011
James Stewart pleads no contest

By B.J. Smith
ESPN.com

James Stewart is happy to have his legal troubles behind him so he can focus on the 2012 season, which he'll be competing in aboard his new Joe Gibbs Racing-backed Yamaha.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, former AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion, James Stewart, who was arrested on March 28 for impersonating an officer, pleaded no contest on Nov. 10 to a misdemeanor related to the case.

Stewart will perform 75 hours of community service in the plea deal. Pronouncement of guilt was withheld because Stewart is a first-time offender. He was also fined $500 and will be on probation for a year.

Stewart gets in some practice at the private Joe Gibbs Racing testing facility in North Carolina.

Stewart did not return messages to ESPN and he declined comments to reporters outside of the Osceola County Courthouse. The night before the hearing Stewart Tweeted to his 62,000 followers: "Glad this is getting behind me. Looking forward to getting back on the track racing. Thanks everyone for your support. 2012 Season."

In an unpublished June 1 interview with ESPN, Stewart was asked if he was optimistic with how the case would turn out. "I'm always optimistic," he said. "All I can do is try to move forward and at the end of the day it was a mistake on my part I guess. For sure it was a mistake on my part but we will handle it and move forward."

Impersonating an officer is a felony. Stewart, represented by attorney Dan Cogdell, pleaded no contest to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of using flashing or rotating lights on a motor vehicle.

In the March incident, Stewart was on his way to the Orlando airport, with a friend, in his 2008 Toyota Tundra when he tried to pull over another vehicle using blue flashing lights he purchased at a flea market. The vehicle he pulled over happened to contain two off-duty highway patrol officers. When trooper Kevin O'Quinn, driving the vehicle Stewart was accused of trying to pull over, identified himself as a police officer, Stewart sped off. He was met by authorities at the Orlando International Airport.

Stewart recently signed a three-year deal with Joe Gibbs Racing where he will compete in the AMA Supercorss and make a return to the AMA Pro Motocross Championship aboard Yamahas.