Former Alabama DL Jonathan Taylor pleads not guilty to domestic violence

ATHENS, Ga. -- Former Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor entered a not guilty plea to domestic violence charges during an arraignment in Athens-Clarke County District Court on Tuesday morning.

Taylor, from Millen, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated assault and misdemeanor charges of battery and simple battery from an incident that led to his July dismissal from Georgia's football team. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound Taylor allegedly punched and kicked his girlfriend during a dispute in his UGA dormitory on July 22.

Athens-Clarke County Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard scheduled a June 30 status conference in the case. Taylor, who is no longer a student at Alabama, appeared at the brief arraignment.

Taylor's attorney, Kim Stephens of Athens, said he hoped to reach a plea agreement with Athens-Clarke County district attorney Ken Mauldin before Taylor's next court appearance.

"We're glad to get the process started so that the whole story and the whole picture can come out eventually, whether it be some sort of resolution where we work something out with the D.A.'s office or we end up going to trial," Stephens said. "We're anxious to see that all sides of the story come to light."

Taylor, 21, was dismissed from Alabama's team last week after he was arrested on March 28 for allegedly assaulting a woman in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The 24-year-old woman, identified as Gina Marie Nawab, recanted her allegations to police the next day. She told Tuscaloosa police that bruises on her neck were self-inflicted and damage to a closet door in her apartment was already there.

Nawab was charged with false reporting to law enforcement.

"She made it up to get back at him for cheating on her in December, and she thought he was cheating again," a deposition released last week by Tuscaloosa County District Court said.

Tuscaloosa Police Lt. Kip Hart said last week that the charges against Taylor would be reviewed. On Monday, Taylor made a brief appearance in Tuscaloosa Municipal Court, where his case was continued without him entering a plea.

Taylor also faces a June 15 trial in the State Court of Athens-Clarke County on misdemeanor charges of twice cashing UGA-issued stipend checks. He was previously placed in a pretrial diversion program, but was removed from it after his first domestic violence arrest.

Stephens said his client has been in touch with a few college programs in hopes of getting an opportunity to continue his football career, but would not disclose the schools' names.

"I'm not involved in the football side of things, but he's anxious to get back in school, continue his education and obviously, like so many kids, has aspirations to play professionally," Stephens said. "But whether that will happen or not is a different question. I'm sure it will depend on several things, including the outcome of this case as well as his talent level."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.