Barnett Charged with Two Counts of Disorderly Conduct
APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Barnett has been charged with two counts of disorderly conduct stemming from an altercation with two women in a bar this summer.
Barnett, 26, was summoned to appear in Outagamie County Circuit Court on Dec. 11, according to the criminal complaint filed by special prosecutor Raymond Pelrine.
Barnett, a first-round pick in 2003 who has started since his rookie year, knew last month that charges would be forthcoming.
"We will enter not-guilty pleas to the two charges and will defend these charges aggressively," said defense lawyer Avi Berk.
According to the complaint, Barnett was with a number of acquaintances at the Wet Bar the night of June 16 and into the early hours of the following morning. During an argument he knocked the drinks out of the hands of two women, the complaint said.
Then he threw one woman's phone against the wall, cracking the face of the phone and leaving a small gouge in the wall, the complaint said.
The women left, then returned to the Appleton nightspot about 45 minutes later. One woman told investigators Barnett "suddenly and without provocation threw his drink in her face," adding that she didn't know why he did it.
She responded by throwing a cup of beer in Barnett's face, then said he moved toward her and used both hands to push her to the floor, the complaint said.
"It was like a tackle, but he didn't go down with me," investigators quoted her as saying.
She said she "probably" hit a table or chair as she fell, and that Barnett ran from the bar rather than help her up. She said he later apologized in a text message.
That version of events tells a skewed story, Barnett's attorney says.
"If what Mr. Barnett is alleged to have done that evening is viewed as potentially criminal behavior, there were a number of other people there that night who could just as easily be charged criminally," Berk said. "According to people we have spoken with who were there that evening, he was also the target of physically and verbally abusive behavior."
The club owner, Kathy Peotter, agreed. The whole event has been overblown, she said, adding that the woman threw a drink on Barnett before he allegedly shoved her and was arrested.
Peotter said the altercation involved two women who were asking for autographs from the half-dozen Packers players who were there that night.
When asked Tuesday whether Barnett denied throwing a drink on the woman, Berk declined comment.
The Packers, who rewarded Barnett with a six-year, $34.85 million contract extension in April, have monitored the situation since Barnett's arrest. The club did not immediately return a message left Tuesday evening but spokesman Jeff Blumb said last month the club would withhold comment out of respect for the legal process.
NFL spokesman Randall Liu has said that the case is subject to league review under the terms of the NFL's personal-conduct policy.
The two misdemeanor charges carry a maximum combined penalty of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)