Louisiana state Sen. Troy Brown, accused of punching woman in face after Bayou Classic, enters not-guilty plea _lowres

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- State Sen. Troy Brown 

An attorney for state Sen. Troy Brown entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf as he was arraigned on a state simple battery charge on Friday morning.

Brown, 44, is accused of punching a woman in the face after the Bayou Classic on Nov. 28 at the Hyatt Regency hotel. The victim, who was 40 at the time of the incident, told officers that she was Brown’s “side friend” of more than 10 years, according to a police report. The report also noted that Brown is married.

Brown, a Democrat from Napoleonville, was originally booked on a municipal charge of misdemeanor domestic battery. WWL-TV reported earlier this week that Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office decided to charge him instead with simple battery in state court, dropping the more serious domestic battery charge.

Brown has previously claimed that he could not remember the incident.

Brown did not appear at the arraignment, where attorney Edwin Murray — a former longtime Louisiana legislator — entered the not-guilty plea on his behalf. Orleans Criminal District Court Judge Laurie White set a $5,000 recognizance bond.

White also scheduled a May 13 trial date for Brown, and ordered him to sign a stay-away order.

Jade Cunningham of WWL-TV contributed reporting.