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Columbus Short not returning to 'Scandal' following legal troubles

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2013 file photo shows Columbus Short at the Ermenegildo Zegna Boutique opening in Beverly Hills, Calif. Short won't be returning to

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FILE - This Nov. 7, 2013 file photo shows Columbus Short at the Ermenegildo Zegna Boutique opening in Beverly Hills, Calif. Short won't be returning to "Scandal" following his legal troubles. The 31-year-old actor says in a statement on Friday, April 25, 2014, he's exiting the ABC political thriller after three seasons. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Columbus Short won't be returning to "Scandal" following his legal troubles.

The 31-year-old actor said in a statement released Friday he's exiting the ABC political thriller after three seasons.

"At this time, I must confirm my exit from a show I've called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble on television today," Short said. "I would like to first thank Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast."

The announcement of Short's exit from the series created by Rhimes comes amid two pending criminal cases, one accusing him of misdemeanour spousal battery and another accusing him of felony battery that seriously injured a man during an altercation at a West Hollywood restaurant in March.

If convicted, Short faces up to four years in state prison.

Short was also charged Feb. 14 with misdemeanour spousal battery and has pleaded not guilty in that case. A judge ordered him to stay away from his wife, Tuere Short, at a March 5 court hearing.

Short's wife filed for divorce April 15, citing irreconcilable differences. She is seeking legal and physical custody of the couple's 2-year-old daughter.

With her filing, Tuere Short obtained another temporary restraining order accusing her husband of choking her and threatening to kill her and himself during a fight on April 7. A hearing on extending the order is scheduled for May 6.

Short played attorney Harrison Wright on the hit series starring Kerry Washington. His character was last seen in grave jeopardy in the explosive season finale.

"Everything must come to an end, and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas," Short said. "I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful."

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AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

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