Albert Haynesworth arraigned: Attorney enters not guilty plea
WASHINGTON (AP, ABC7) - Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth did not grope a waitress at a hotel bar and intends to fight the accusations, his lawyer said Tuesday in entering a not guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse.
Haynesworth, who was not present at his arraignment in D.C. Superior Court, is accused of sliding his credit card into the bra of a waitress and touching her breast during a birthday party at the W hotel in February. His lawyer said after the arraignment that the accusation was false and that Haynesworth would defend himself at a trial set for July 11.
“It did not happen. That is our position. Now, that answer covers every question you could have about groping, credit cards, breasts...you name it,” Haynesworth’ attorney A. Scott Bolden said.
The defense says it has nearly a half dozen witnesses who will dispute what the waitress contends happened at the February birthday party.
"The government's version of what happened at the W Hotel a few months back is very different from our version - and we've got witnesses," said Bolden, who said his client was currently out of town. "The one thing I can tell you is my client didn't do what he's accused of doing."
Defense: Haynesworth targeted because of ‘celebrity status’
Bolden said he believed the accusation was trumped up because of Haynesworth's celebrity status and wealth. Prosecutors last month offered a plea deal in which the sexual abuse charge would be dropped in exchange for Haynesworth pleading guilty to simple assault. But Bolden rejected that offer in court Tuesday.
Haynesworth, 29, has had a tumultuous recent run with the Redskins.
Haynesworth, who last season was in the second year of a seven-year, $100 million contract, was suspended without pay for the final four games of 2010 for "conduct detrimental to the club" and feuded regularly with coach Mike Shanahan. He also
skipped offseason workouts and failed to pass a conditioning test at the start of training camp.
A two-day trial date was set for July 11 and 12th. Until then, the courts are allowing Haynesworth to remain on his recognizance. If convicted, Haynesworth could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
In January, one month before the sexual abuse accusation was made, Haynesworth was accused of road rage in Fairfax County, Va., by a man who claimed he was tailgated and then assaulted by the All-Pro defensive tackle. Haynesworth is awaiting a trial in that case. Haynesworth's agent has said his client is innocent.