Singer Travis pleads not guilty to assault

SAN ANTONIO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Country singer Randy Travis

pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault in a municipal

courtroom in the Dallas suburb of Plano on Friday, his lawyer

said.

Lawyer Peter A. Schulte told Reuters his client is

"absolutely not guilty of this crime."

Police say Travis assaulted a man in a church parking lot in

Plano in August while attempting to intervene in a disagreement

between a woman he was with and the woman's estranged husband.

"He was actually being a good Samaritan at the time,

stepping in to save two women from being assaulted," Schulte

said. He said the woman Travis was with and his daughter were

being harassed by two men.

The charge against Travis carries a maximum $500 fine and no

jail time. The case is set for trial March 11.

The altercation occurred during a bad stretch for the

53-year-old Grammy winner. Earlier in August, Travis was

arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after he was found

lying naked near his wrecked car along a north Texas highway. He

also was accused of threatening to shoot and kill the troopers

investigating the case, according to a police report.

The North Carolina-born country singer, known for hits such

as "Forever and Ever, Amen," also was arrested in February for

drunken driving while sitting in his car in the parking lot of

another north Texas church.

Schulte said Travis has been doing well since the two August

incidents. He said his client was upbeat as he left the

courtroom Friday.

"He turned and wished everybody who was there a merry

Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year," he said.

(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Bill Trott)

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