It was a powerful “Saved by the Bell” reunion as Dustin Diamond sat down with “Extra’s” Mario Lopez for his first interview since being released from Ozaukee County Jail in Wisconsin. Dustin was found guilty of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon after a barroom brawl in 2014.
In the wide-ranging, exclusive interview, Dustin spoke in detail for the first time about the altercation that landed him behind bars, opens up about his sex tape, reveals the truth about his book, “Behind the Bell,” and tells Mario what's next for him.
Dustin tells Mario he and fiancée Amanda Schutz were out celebrating Christmas at the Grand Avenue Saloon in Port Washington, Wisconsin when a group of people confronted them asking for photos. Things soon went out of control.
“One of the girl’s friends [Amanda] was talking to sucker-punched my fiancée… she leaned back to me and her face was covered in blood.” When a male got involved grabbing Amanda by the hair, Dustin needed to protect her and ended up getting tackled by a male, “I opened my pocket knife and said, ‘Let my wife go immediately,’ which worked.”
Setting the record straight on allegations he actually stabbed 25-year-old Casey Smett, Diamond said, “I had my pocket knife like this... and the blade was right here and the guy came from around me and grabbed my throat, and so he nicked his arm on the tip of it -- it was a Band-Aid, the most expensive Band-Aid I’ve ever bought.”
The 39-year-old was sentenced to four months in jail, getting out after three for working as a janitor. He told Mario that it’s not like what you see on TV. “It’s pretty daunting, it’s pretty scary going into that environment. I found that as long as you follow the rules and stay with the system, it works. You can get in and out unscathed.”
Diamond’s jail stint was just the latest in a long history of drama. The actor, best known as Screech, tried to cash in on his fame in 2006 by directing and releasing a sex tape called “Screeched.” He later admitted it was not actually him in the video. He told Mario, “There was a stunt person.” He said it was all about the money. “I had to take a chance. What if that thing had made $3 or 4 million?”
Mario also brought up the tell-all book that got Dustin in hot water with his former co-stars. “Let’s talk about the book.” Dustin quipped, “Oh, that’s what did the most damage.”
He claims it was his ghostwriter who went rogue. “I wanted to write a book about my life… I was supposed to talk to a ghostwriter for 40 hours total. I talked to a guy for 90 minutes total… another two weeks go by, and I get something in the mail, I get a copy of the book… They fabricated a whole bunch of stuff… I kind of super railroaded on that.”
Mario commented, “The book didn’t exactly paint a flattering picture of your fellow castmates.” Dustin agreed, “Imagine how I feel, I haven’t talked to Marc Paul or Elizabeth or Tiffani in ages, so I can’t imagine what they think, and I’m hoping this will clear it up. It wasn’t me, I didn’t write this. I was just as shocked and appalled.”
Now the stand-up comedian wants to put all this behind him by getting a fresh start and focusing on marriage and starting a family with fiancée Amanda, and pursuing acting. “I want to put the tomfoolery and malarkey behind me… for that clean slate. Time for a change.”
Tune in to “Extra” on Wednesday and Thursday for Mario’s full interview with Dustin.