September 4, 2007

Memphis players plead not guilty to charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -Two University of Memphis basketball players pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of disorderly conduct and inciting a riot related to a nightclub scuffle over the weekend.

Shawn Taggart and Jeff Robinson appeared briefly in Shelby County General Sessions Criminal Court. Their case was reset for Sept. 25, according to their attorney Leslie Ballin.

``These are two quality young men,'' Ballin told The Commercial Appeal after the appearance. ``They were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Under the law, we expected them to be exonerated.''

The two were arrested after police responded to a disturbance outside the Plush Club on Beale Street early Sunday. Club security accused Taggart of starting a fight, though police said they later refuted that.

While being detained by officers, Taggart was accused of yelling obscenities and agitating a crowd that had gathered outside the club. Robinson also was charged with assault because he approached a police officer aggressively and used verbal threats, said police spokeswoman Monique Martin.

The incident prompted coach John Calipari to impose a curfew and bar them from visiting any nightclub.

Robinson, 19, is a freshman shooting guard from Columbus, N.J. Taggart, 22, is a 6-11 forward from Richmond, Va., who transferred last season from Iowa State. Neither has played a game for the Tigers.



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