May 17, 2002 10:00 AM

Ursula Reichert-Habbishaw, 51, the woman accused of stalking “Unfaithful” star Richard Gere, 52, in various corners of the world, managed to avoid a jail sentence on Thursday, reports the Associated Press. Reichert-Habbishaw, appearing before Criminal Court Judge Gregory Carro, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of aggravated harassment, agreed to the judge’s demand that she return home to Germany, and promised to steer clear of Gere. She also fainted outside the courtroom. Leaving the Manhattan courthouse in tears, Reichert-Habbishaw, a divorced mother of four children ages 16 to 22, reportedly fell to the pavement when news cameramen approached her. Her Legal Aid Society lawyer, Peggy Bennett, and an unidentified man escorted her back into the courthouse and then out a rear exit. A photo in Friday’s New York Post shows the collapsed Reichert-Habbishaw, wearing jeans and a leopard-print top, being lifted by a large man. According to Reuters, Carro ordered Reichert-Habbishaw, who allegedly contacted Gere by phone, fax and e-mail as many as 1,000 times and showed up at his Greenwich Village office on at least six occasions during the past 14 months, to be on a plane bound for Germany by Thursday night. She had faced up to one year in jail had she been convicted on the three counts related to her behavior. Gere’s personal assistant, Karen Klose, told prosecutors that Reichert-Habbishaw claimed she loved the star and, in a series of phone calls, promised to follow him. In phone messages cited by Klose, the defendant allegedly said: “I want to be with you and share your life,” “Death seems to be the best” and “I can take a pistol and kill myself.”

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