CINCINNATI, Ohio — Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was found not guilty on Tuesday of an assault charge accusing him of punching a woman in the head at a nightclub.
A visiting judge in Hamilton County Municipal Court heard the case after Jones, who has had a spate of legal troubles, waived a jury trial. Jones could have been sentenced to up to six months in jail if convicted.
Jones was accused of hitting Shannon Wesley outside a downtown Cincinnati nightclub and was arrested in June. He had pleaded not guilty and been released on his own recognizance.
The judge heard more than two hours of testimony from Wesley on Tuesday.
Wesley said Jones punched her in the head with a closed fist, knocking her to the ground. But she also said the punch came after she poured beer on Jones’ arm in an attempt to get him to leave her and her friends alone.
Wesley said Jones was aggressive and called her and the other women names preceded by adjectives including "sloppy" and "fat."
"We were scared," she said.
The judge said in delivering his ruling that surveillance video of the bar’s patio showed the beer bottle pointing toward Jones’ face, near his eye.
"The initial aggressor in this case was Shannon Wesley with the beer bottle," Judge Robert Taylor said.
Witnesses testified there was cursing from both sides, and the judge noted a lack of civility from those involved, including Jones.
Jones’ attorney repeatedly argued that Wesley physically assaulted Jones.
"This man was only defending himself when he was threatened," attorney Ralph Kohnen said.
But prosecutor Bernadette Longano argued that there was "zero evidence" that Wesley harmed or attempted to harm Jones.
Jones and his attorney declined to comment after Tuesday’s ruling. The prosecutor also declined to comment.
Jones, the Bengals’ third cornerback and a punt returner, still could face discipline from the National Football League under its conduct policy. A message left with the NFL on Tuesday wasn’t immediately returned.
Last month, Jones paid a fine for disorderly conduct after police accused him of making offensive comments in a traffic stop.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of disorderly conduct after he was arrested in 2011 in another case. He was accused in that case of shouting profanities and trying to pull away as police arrested him at a bar.