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White Pleads Innocent to Assault Charge

01/14/2004 6:41PM

White Stripes lead singer Jack White, accused of repeatedly punching the face of Von Bondies lead singer Jason Stollsteimer during a Dec. 13 run-in, pleaded innocent in a Michigan courtroom Wednesday to a misdemeanor aggravated assault charge and was ordered to stand trial on March 9, the Associated Press reports.

There's been no immediate comment from White's attorney, says the news service.

Last Dec. 21, White, 28 went to a Detroit police precinct and gave a statement saying he struck Stollsteimer, 25, in self-defense. The fight between the two musicians began shortly before midnight at the Magic Stick club, where both men were attending a concert.

Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan said the two had an ongoing disagreement that began after Stollsteimer criticized White's role in producing the Von Bondies' first album.

According to a police report originally posted on the Smoking Gun Web site, Stollsteimer said White "became enraged" after Stollsteimer declined to speak with him. White then suddenly pulled him to the ground and hit him seven times, said Stollsteimer.

Police said Stollsteimer was treated and released from a Detroit hospital. White reportedly only suffered some redness to the face and cuts on his left hand, according to the report.

"It seems that far too often celebrities think that the law does not apply to them," Duggan said at a press conference shortly after the incident.

If convicted, White faces anywhere from no jail time to a maximum of one year in prison.

The rocker (who has dated Renee Zellweger, with whom he stars briefly in "Cold Mountain") recently received four Grammy nominations for "Elephant," his most recent album with bandmate Meg White. The duo also is expected to perform during the Grammy ceremony Feb. 8.

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