View the original article at: http://www.countryweekly.com/news/john-rich-releases-statement-charges
John explains that he took this action to face charges filed by Jared, a contestant on the fourth season of Nashville Star, a show on which John served as one of the judges. In April, John sued Jared, saying that the aspiring singer defamed him by claiming that John hit him in the face in a Nashville night club. John was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assualt and one misdemeanor count of harassment. John claims that the charges are false. Following is the statement by John, released through his attorneys:
"This entire ridiculous situation is nothing more than an effort by singer, Jared Ashley, and music row attorney Chris Sevier, to try to obtain money from me. Mr. Sevier and Mr. Ashley have falsely accused me of misdemeanor crimes. I trust that the truth will come out through the process of our American justice system and that I will be completely exonerated at the end of the day. It's unfortunately common in my line of work that there are a very small number of people who want to take advantage of another person's success and try to get something for nothing. I truly did make every effort to work this out in connection with the defamation lawsuit I filed against Mr. Ashley. Yesterday, I decided that a civil settlement would be impossible due to the fact that Mr. Ashley and his attorney demanded that I pay Jared Ashley 2.9 million dollars, even though he is the one who has defamed me. He has now chosen to bring these false charges against me.
Ultimately, and out of principle, I will not allow myself to be coerced into paying 2.9 million dollars to Mr. Ashley and his attorney Chris Sevier in exchange for dropping these frivolous misdemeanor charges. I intend to defend myself through the legal process to the fullest extent of the law." To further clarify, John added in a follow-up statement, "They [Ashley and Sevier]filed the misdemeanor charges in retaliation to the civil suit regarding defamation that I filed against Jared Ashley. I refused to pay the $2.9 million and instead opted to turn myself in and fight this in court."