Tim McGraw Assault Trial Gets Under Way in New York State

McGraw may take stand this week in unusual misdemeanor trial; Faith Hill a courtroom regular.

The Erie County, New York, district attorney's office was still presenting its case against Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney Wednesday morning (May 16) in the trial taking place in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park. A spokesperson for McGraw's attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou, said McGraw could begin telling his side of the story to the jury by Wednesday afternoon.

McGraw faces misdemeanor charges of assault, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and harassment for coming to Chesney's defense during a backstage disturbance at a June 3 George Strait concert in Buffalo. McGraw became involved when deputies hired as security guards tried to remove Chesney from a deputy's horse Chesney claims he had permission to ride. Chesney's case, which involves only harassment charges, will be heard and settled by a judge.

Misdemeanor offenses are rarely heard by juryies; a plea bargain or settlement is usually arrived at beforehand. If McGraw is convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in jail.

McGraw has been accompanied to court this week by his wife, singer Faith Hill, who has incited as much media excitement as the trial's principals have.

Deputy Arthur Litzinger of the Erie County Sheriff's office testified Tuesday that he suffered a back injury when McGraw seized him around the neck and threw him into a patrol car as he was attempting to pull Chesney from the horse. Litzinger said deputies repeatedly ordered Chesney to dismount but admitted under cross-examination that no one asked the singer if he had permission to be on the horse, according to the attorney's spokesperson.