John Rich defends self against criminal charges
Sunday, May 31, 2009
– John Rich defended himself Friday in an on-going legal dispute with a former Nashville Star contestant in which the two have sued each other.
Rich, who is one-half of Big & Rich and released a solo disc earlier this year, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault and one of harassment for alleged incidents involving former Nashville Star contestant Jared Ashley.
Rich denied all charges in an Associated Press report, saying, "I'm disappointed that something like this has to be in the press when so many things are going on in the world that are important. It's a waste of time, but unfortunately that's what's going on."
Rich turned himself into police on Thursday in relation to incidents that allegedly occurred in June 2008 and March of this year. He was released on $3,000 bond.
Ashley claimed the first assault occurred in June 2008 at a club where he performed. Court papers claimed Rich walked on stage near the close of the show, put his arm around Ashley's neck, verbally threatened him and "squeezed" and "jerked" his neck a few times.
In March, Ashley allegedly visited a private club owned by Rich, who argued with Ashley and punched him in the jaw. Rich also allegedly left Ashley a threatening phone message.
Rich filed a defamation suit against Ashley in April, saying Ashley defamed him by claiming on a radio show that Rich punched him in the face.
Rich claimed Friday that Ashley and his lawyer demanded $2.9 million to drop the charges, which Ashley's lawyer said was "completely false."
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CD reviews for John Rich
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