State Senator Scott Bundgaard's attorney was in Phoenix Municipal Court yesterday where he pleaded not guilty on Bundgaard's behalf to charges stemming from a February fracas with then gal-pal Aubry Ballard on the side of a Valley freeway.
Bundgaard's been charged with one count each of reckless assault and endangerment for the scuffle, which resulted in a night in the slammer for Ballard and a shiner for Bundgaard.
Bundgaard was not charged the night of the incident because, according to Phoenix police, he invoked legislative immunity -- a claim he disputes. Ballard, on the other hand, was taken into custody at the scene.
With each side telling a different story, the details of the brouhaha are unclear. Bundgaard claims Ballard attacked him in a jealous rage as the two were driving home from a charity event, during which Bundgaard competed in a dance competition with another woman.
He claims she started punching him and throwing his clothes out the window as the two were driving on State Route 51. When he stopped to retrieve the clothes, he tried to remove Ballard from the car, dragging her along the side of the highway, causing cuts and scrapes to her legs.
Bundgaard also claims Ballard pulled a gun on him, a claim Ballard says -- and most observers believe -- is BS.
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The unbelievable yarn about the gun, Senate sources told New Times at the time, was the breaking point for many Senate Republicans, who booted Bundgaard from his leadership position in the Senate shortly after the incident.
Ballard issued the following statement about the charges against Bundgaard:
The night of February 25 remains painful for me. Not only the assault I suffered at the hands of a man I once loved, but Scott's insistence on blaming others and his failure to take responsibility for his illegal, abusive behavior.
Fortunately, the justice system has decided to hold Scott accountable. I support that decision wholeheartedly.
My thanks go out to the Phoenix Police Department, the city prosecutor's office, and the five independent witnesses who spoke out, corroborating the facts of that night. I look forward to putting this awful incident into the past.
If convicted, Bundgaard faces up to 10 months in jail and $3,250 in fines.