Randy Travis has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault, which was issued after he got into a confrontation with a man outside a church in Texas over the summer, and his lawyer says the singer acted in self-defense.
The 53-year-old Grammy-winning singer made his plea at a court in Plano on Friday, December 21. Police said in August that they responded to a report about a "personal family issue occurring between an estranged husband and wife," who turned out to be Travis' girlfriend. They say the singer interfered and got into an altercation with the man. No injuries were reported.
Travis was ticketed for simple assault, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and no jail time.
"I am looking forward to the trial for the truth to be exposed in this matter," said one of the singer's lawyer, Pete Schulte, according to the Dallas Morning News. "Mr. Travis is not guilty of this accusation."
Another one of his lawyers, Larry Friedman, said Travis had stepped in to try to help the woman and her 17-year-old daughter, who were being harassed by two men, adding: "Randy was a Good Samaritan. He was the Good Samaritan. He intervened in an assault by two men who were beating two women, one of whom was a minor."
"When he intervened, one of those two attackers attacked Randy, and he defended himself," Friedman added. "When the police arrived, one attacker was on top of Randy, and the police pulled him off Randy. But Randy was trying to protect the two women from further harm."
A trial date was set for March 11.
Weeks before the altercation near the church, Travis was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas. In the state, a DWI is considered a misdemeanor, but the singer was also charged with retaliation, which is a felony. The latter charge stemmed from threats officials say Travis had made to the troopers.
It marked Travis' second alcohol-related arrest. In February, the singer was charged with public intoxication after being arrested near a church after he had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend. A video of that arrest can be viewed here.
The singer later issued a statement, apologizing "for what resulted following an evening of celebrating the Super Bowl." He also said he is "committed to being responsible and accountable."
The Dallas Morning News quoted Friedman as saying on Friday that "Randy is no longer drinking any alcohol," adding: "He's committed to a new fitness regimen that includes a strict three-hour workout every day and a new high-protein diet."
Travis is known for hits such as "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart" and "Forever and Ever, Amen." The North Carolina native dropped out of high school at age 15 and had struggled with drugs and alcohol as a teenager. He has served time in jail for offenses such as drunk driving, stealing a van, breaking and entering, larceny and drunk and disorderly conduct.