EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -A man who accused Richard Jefferson of grabbing him by the throat in an incident in a Minneapolis club this year had too much to drink, the New Jersey Nets forward said in a radio interview.
Jefferson was charged with assault on Wednesday for the Jan. 27 incident when the Nets were in Minneapolis to play the Timberwolves.
According to the charge, Jefferson went to a club in the Graves Hotel where the victim was having a private birthday party in a roped-off section.
The documents say Jefferson entered the area and got angry when he was asked to leave. He is accused of grabbing the victim, shoving him to a bench and choking him with both hands.
Speaking on Sirius satellite radio late Wednesday, Jefferson said he was attending a birthday party for teammate Vince Carter when he was approached in the hotel bar by an individual he described as ``very rude and very disrespectful.''
Jefferson said ``an altercation broke out'' but no punches were thrown.
``They were saying there was choking. It was more of a getting your space,'' he said. ``This individual doesn't have a scratch on him. There was no mark. There was no blood. There was no anything.''
Jefferson said he was not drunk.
``You know, it is unfortunate,'' he said. ``I've never been involved in an incident in my life. I don't even think I've ever been thrown out of a basketball game. But some drunk individual wants to come up and, you know, then, of course, when they start telling their side of the story we're the big bad athletes that think they can get away with everything and then they're some innocent individual that has never made a mistake in their life.''
A court hearing is set for June 18.

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