MIAMI – NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne filed a written not guilty plea for misdemeanor battery charges and now faces the possibility of criminal and civil trials stemming from a Nov. 16 shoving incident with a security guard at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We’ll take it as far as it has to go,” Kahne’s Miami-based attorney Richard Sharpstein said Monday. “We’ll prove Kasey’s innocent, and that he didn’t intentionally harm this person.”

Kahne was arrested during the NASCAR race weekend at Homestead because of the incident, and last month security guard Archibald Hutchinson filed a civil lawsuit. Hutchinson is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 from Kahne, who according to the complaint/arrest affidavit shoved Hutchinson to the ground at Homestead.

Kahne, a Gillett Evernham driver, was wearing his Gillett Evernham driver’s race suit and trying to get to his motor home in the owner/driver motor-home lot. The confrontation between Hutchinson and Kahne arose because Kahne did not have his NASCAR-issued identification card.

Kahne entered a written not guilty plea last week to misdemeanor battery charges, which carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Kahne’s plea canceled his arraignment in Miami that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

“This is an incident that is blown way out of proportion,” Sharpstein said. “It’s totally inconsistent with Kasey Kahne’s polite, well-mannered persona.”

Sharpstein was most recently in the news as the family friend and attorney for slain Washington Redskins player Sean Taylor. Sharpstein questioned the merits of Hutchinson’s lawsuit.

“It’s obvious his motives are money,” Sharpstein said. “I hope before we get to any type of trial, the state attorney will realize this case should go nowhere. It’s obvious this is being done to take advantage of Kasey’s success.”

Hutchinson said he suffered both physical and emotional injuries resulting from Kahen’s shove. Hutchinson’s attorney Russell Dohan said Monday his client still is being treated by doctors.

Dohan said he remained hopeful that a settlement would be reached “shortly.”

Sharpstein said Kahne is preparing for the upcoming NASCAR season and likely would not address this case until it gets to the “appropriate stages.”
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