'Scandal's' Columbus Short pleads not guilty in bar assault case

Actor Columbus Short pleads not guilty to felony battery charges in bar fight arraignment

"Scandal" actor Columbus Short pleaded not guilty on Thursday to felony battery charges stemming from a March bar fight.

The 37-year-old appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court with his attorney for the brief arraignment and can be seen in courtroom footage obtained by TMZ.

His attorney, Jeff Jacquet, hoped to fast-track the case, but Deputy District Attorney David Schorr said the serious injuries involved would disqualify that approach, and the judge agreed, the Associated Press reported.

Schorr said Short cold-cocked a man, who landed on the asphalt, knocking him unconscious and fracturing his left eye socket. The alleged incident took place March 15 at Gabe's Bar and Grill in Rancho Park, according to TMZ. Authorities said the actor got into the fight after the 37-year-old man reportedly bad-mouthed Short's wife.

The actor is expected to be back in court regarding the matter on June 5.

Short is currently embroiled in other cases involving allegations of violence.

His estranged wife, Tuere Tanee Short, filed for divorce in April and was granted a temporary restraining order against the actor, according to court documents obtained by People.

Tanee Short, whom he wed in July 2005 and separated from on April 7, cited irreconcilable differences and requested full legal and physical custody of the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Ayala.

In February, Short pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor spousal battery, and at a March 5 hearing was ordered to stay away from his wife. In April, she obtained a restraining order after alleging that he'd put a knife to her throat and threatened to slash her tires, TMZ reported.

A hearing on the restraining order has been set for May 21. Short's attorney said that he'll contest the order, adding that it will require a lengthy evidentiary hearing, AP reported.

In June 2010, the actor pleaded no contest to felony battery charges stemming from an altercation with a man at an L.A. Fitness gym. The charges were later reduced to disturbing the peace, and the actor was put on three years' informal probation, which required him to not threaten or use violence on anyone.

In late April, the actor, whose character was in peril at the end of the "Scandal" Season 3 finale, announced that he wouldn't be returning to the hit ABC series, which stars Kerry Washington as a Washington, D.C., fixer.

"At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I've called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble in television today," he said. "I would like to first thank ['Scandal' creator] Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the 'Scandal' series.

"I have enjoyed every single minute of it," he continued. "Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for [Short's character] Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry [Washington] and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful."

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