HARTFORD, Conn. – Former NFL defensive end Hugh Douglas pleaded not guilty Monday to felony assault and strangulation charges in an alleged attack on his girlfriend in Hartford, after having told police that her neck injuries were from rough sex.
Douglas, 42, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., was arraigned in Hartford Superior Court, where a judge approved his request to remove an electronic monitoring device from his ankle over the objection of a prosecutor. His case was continued to Nov. 19 and he remains free on $50,000 bail.
"Whatever happens after this, we just hope that it (the case) goes away quickly," Douglas said after the hearing in his first public comments about the case. He declined to discuss the allegations and why he was in Hartford on the day of the alleged attack.
His lawyer, Corey Brinson, denied all the accusations and predicted the charges would be dropped. He told the judge that the woman has given conflicting statements, including initially denying that she was assaulted.
Douglas played for the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995 to 2004. He also was an analyst for ESPN from 2011 until earlier this year, and currently is looking for work.
Brinson said sports and TV personalities can become targets for false charges by people hoping to make money.
"There's a lot for the complainant to gain by making these allegations," Brinson said after the hearing.
Brinson said in court that the woman was upset at Douglas because he refused to pay for breast enhancements for her.
Hartford police said the alleged assault occurred at the Hartford Marriott Downtown hotel in the early morning hours of Sept. 22. The woman, who was not identified, first told police that nothing happened, but then claimed Douglas grabbed her by her neck in a hallway and slammed her against the walls several times while carrying her back to their room during an argument, according to a police report.
Douglas told an officer that the woman's neck injury was from "rough sex," the report says.
Judge Laura Baldini ordered the GPS monitoring device removed, despite an objection by prosecutor Mirella Giambalvo. Brinson argued the device wasn't needed because Douglas has never been convicted of a crime, lives about 300 miles away and the device was hindering Douglas' efforts to find a job.
"The victim is extremely fearful," Giambalvo said.
Responding to Brinson's comments about the woman giving conflicting stories, Giambalvo said the arraignment wasn't a time to put the woman's credibility on trial.
"We're looking at keeping her safe," Giambalvo said.