Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chad Johnson Pleads Not Guilty to Misdemeanor Battery - ABC News

Chad Johnson, a former NFL receiver, today pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery in a Florida court and could face up to one year in jail if convicted.

Johnson's attorney filed a written plea of not guilty in Broward County, Fla., court this morning. The former Miami Dolphins player, who used to call himself Chad Ochocinco, was not present, but is expected to appear in court on Oct. 31.

An avid Twitter user, Johnson this morning tweeted, "I wish all of you would come to court with me this morning... damn butterflies..."

The Broward County state attorney formally filed the first-degree misdemeanor battery charge against Johnson on Wednesday, following his Aug. 11 arrest for allegedly head-butting his wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada, during an argument at the couple's home in Davie, Fla.

Lozada, who was once engaged to former Boston Celtics player Antoine Walker, was a cast member on the VH1 reality TV series, "Basketball Wives." She has since filed for divorce from Johnson, whom she married on July 4.

In her first interview since filing for divorce, Lozada told "Nightline" exclusively about ending her six-week marriage to Johnson, what she says happened the night they argued and how she is coping. At the time, she said she would not get back together with Johnson and refused to talk to him.

PHOTO: NFL player Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada pose with Motorola Xoom at the Maxim Party Powered by Motorola Xoom at Centennial Hall at Fair Park on Feb. 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.

Gary Miller/Getty Images

NFL player Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada... View Full Size
PHOTO: NFL player Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada pose with Motorola Xoom at the Maxim Party Powered by Motorola Xoom at Centennial Hall at Fair Park on Feb. 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.
Evelyn Lozada Opens Up about Chad Johnson Watch Video
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"I believe he loves me. I believe he needs to get help," she said in the August interview. "He's a good guy that made a bad choice. He loves football and he's very driven and a great dad. He made a bad choice that destroyed his life, and I hate that I'm connected to that."

Lozada, 36, said the argument with Johnson broke out on Aug. 11 after she said she confronted him about a receipt for a box of condoms she found inside a car he used to drive to football practice.

"And then the next thing I know, he grabbed me by here [pointing to her head] and he head-butted me," Lozada said. "I felt blood coming down my faceĆ¢€¦ and I looked at him and I said, 'You just head-butted me?' And it just -- everything just felt if it was in slow motion."

Johnson, 34, was arrested that evening and charged with misdemeanor battery. He spent the night in the Broward County jail, and was released on $2,500 bond, according to jail records. The Dolphins immediately cut the six-time Pro Bowl receiver from the team.

Johnson denied that he head-butted Lozada, and in fact, told police the night he was arrested that Lozada head-butted him.

On Aug. 14, just a day before Lozada filed for divorce, Johnson posted a statement on his official website, OCNN, saying, "I am going to let the legal process run its course. I wish Evelyn nothing but the best, I have no negative words to say about her, the only thing I can say is I love her very much."

"I will continue to be positive and stay training hard for another opportunity in the NFL. I appreciate all my fans and supporters and if I have disappointed you in any way, you have my sincerest apologies. Once again I will continue to stay positive and appreciate all the support during this tough period in my life," Johnson said.

Lozada told "Nightline" that she hadn't been back to the couple's home since the incident, and said she believed that being away from each other was the "right thing" for both of them.

"I still love him," she said. "I feel bad for him because his life is now a mess."

If convicted of misdemeanor battery, Johnson would face up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

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