Mel Gibson Will Be In Court For Plea

3/9/2011 2:00 PM PST
Mel Gibson will be front and center in court when the plea bargain is announced Friday afternoon.

TMZ broke the story ... Mel will plead no contest to simple battery, a lesser charge than corporal injury on a spouse.  Although battery is a misdemeanor, under the law, since it involves "a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting" and "a person who is the parent of the defendant's child," Mel must appear in person.

The case will be heard by Judge Stephanie Sautner, and under the deal Mel will NOT serve any jail time.  He will be ordered to continue counseling.