Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney Acquitted

ByABC News
May 29, 2001, 1:28 PM

May 24 -- A jury in Orchard Park, N.Y., found country singer Tim McGraw innocent Wednesday of charges that he assaulted a sheriff's deputy in a scuffle over a police horse last June. Fellow country star Kenny Chesney and McGraw's road manager, Mark Russo, were also found innocent of any wrongdoing for their roles in the fracas.

The two stars hugged as the verdict was read, and McGraw's wife, chart-topper Faith Hill, reportedly wiped away tears in the front row. All three signed autographs for more than 100 fans afterwards.

McGraw and Chesney were arrested on June 3, following the duo's headlining set at the George Strait Country Music Festival, near Buffalo, N.Y. Chesney, 33, asked the daughter of Erie Sheriff Dept. Capt. James Coyle for permission to sit on her father's horse in the parking lot. After climbing into the saddle, he reportedly rode off, disregarding orders to halt.

When two officers intercepted the musician and his mount and attempted to remove him, McGraw, 34, and Russo, 45, leapt into the fray and reportedly attacked the deputies. The three were arrested and detained for four hours before being freed on bail.

McGraw and Russo were up against misdemeanor counts that carried jail terms of up to a year. Chesney faced the lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

McGraw's most recent full-length, Set This Circus Down, is currently No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. McGraw and Chesney also hold the No. 2 and 3 spots on the Hot Country Singles charts this week, with "Grown Men Don't Cry" and "Don't Happen Twice," respectively.