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Mel Gibson apparently admitted “slapping” Oksana Grigorieva in a sworn court declaration, but his account of their blowout fight is very different than hers.

According to the declaration obtained by TMZ, Mel admits slapping – not hitting – Oksana after she became so hysterical that she was endangering their baby.

In the January 6 fight that sparked a domestic violence investigation, Oksana claims Mel punched her in the temple and the mouth, knocking out two teeth.

But Mel tells a very different story.

Mel says he and Oksana were arguing at his home when Oksana grabbed Lucia out her of bassinet, brought her right in the middle of the argument, screaming, “Stop yelling or you will make her into a retarded brain damaged idiot!”

Oksana then “spun around,” according to Mel, and ran out into the backyard, which the actor says is dangerous at night, set on different levels and dimly lit. Oksana ran across the various levels for about 75 yards, near thorny trees.

Mel says he implored Oksana to bring Lucia back inside, which she did, but “while jerking her body from side to side to keep Lucia out of my reach.”

Oksana was “hysterical” and her “rapid movements were causing Lucia’s little body to be flung from one side to the other, her head shaking violently.”

Mel says he feared Shaken Baby Syndrome and when she refused to hand the baby over and continued her “rough and erratic movements,” Mel says, “I slapped Oksana one time with an open hand in an attempt to bring her back to reality.”

“I did not slap [Oksana Grigorieva] hard, I was just trying to shock her so that she would stop screaming, continuing shaking Lucia back and forth.”

“I did not hit Oksana with a closed fist, as she alleges. I did not punch her in the face, in the temple or anywhere else, not then or at any other time.”

“There was never any blood and no teeth were ‘broken,’ although one of the false veneers from a tooth apparently came off, I did not see that occur.”

“While I do not believe I handled the situation as well as I should have, I was worried about the way Oksana was shaking and tossing Lucia around.”

“My hand never touched any part of Lucia.”

As we talked about last week, the pediatrician who examined Lucia saw no evidence of injury to the baby. So was Oksana lying about the abuse?

In any event, Mel’s story could establish a defense to her domestic violence allegations, using reasonable force to protect a child from injury.

What do you think? Do you believe it?

Is Oksana trying to make this seem much worse to bilk Mel, or is he trying to cover up what really happened and beat the rap after beating her?