Caleb Brantley pleads not guilty to battery

Florida Gators linebacker Alex Anzalone, left, hugs Florida Gators defensive lineman Caleb Brantley after the Gators’ loss in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Dec. 3. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun/File] Former University of Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley entered a not guilty plea to battery Monday, Alachua County Court records show.

A potential second-round NFL draft pick, Brantley faces the battery charge after police say he punched a woman in the face and knocked her unconscious during an April 13 altercation, according to a sworn complaint filed by the Gainesville Police Department Friday.

The plea was entered by Huntley Johnson, one of Brantley’s attorneys.

Brantley’s defense counsel and an attorney for the victim gave vastly different accounts of what happened.

The complaint is now in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office, which will investigate and decide whether to formally charge Brantley.

Two witnesses told police that Brantley, 22, was the aggressor in the incident, which happened at a bar across from campus, the complaint said.

After being shoved by 21-year-old Gainesville resident Chelsea Marie Austin, Brantley responded by punching the 110-pound woman in the face, knocking out a tooth and leaving her unconscious, according to police. The victim needs a root canal, the report said.

“Ms. Chelsea Austin was and is the victim of this incident,” wrote her attorney, Michael Williams. “The initial police report indicated that she struck Mr. Brantley, but that is simply not true.”

Austin declined comment to The Sun and referred questions to Williams.

Brantley’s attorneys issued a lengthy statement in which they described the football player’s role as that of a sober person who walked into the bar to pick up a friend, but found himself accosted by a group of women peppering him with lewd suggestions.
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