A visiting judge in Hamilton County Municipal Court heard the case after Jones, who has had a spate of legal troubles, waived a jury trial. Jones could have been sentenced to up to six months in jail if convicted.
Jones was accused of hitting Shannon Wesley outside a downtown Cincinnati nightclub and was arrested in June. He had pleaded not guilty and been released on his own recognizance.
The judge heard more than two hours of testimony from Wesley on Tuesday. Wesley said that Jones punched her in the head with a closed fist, knocking her to the ground. But she also said that the punch came after she poured beer on Jones’ arm in an attempt to get him to leave her and her friends alone.
Wesley said she poured the beer after Jones started calling her and the other women names preceded by adjectives including “sloppy” and “fat.”
The judge said in delivering his ruling that surveillance video of the bar’s patio showed Wesley with the beer bottle near Jones’ face.
“The initial aggressor in this case was Shannon Wesley with the beer bottle,” said Judge Robert Taylor, adding that there was cursing and profanity from both sides involved in the altercation.
Jones’ attorney had said in opening statements that Jones was the victim and that Wesley struck first, hitting him with the beer bottle.
“She physically assaulted Mr. Jones,” he said, adding that the surveillance video would show that.
Jones and his attorney declined to comment after Tuesday’s ruling. The prosecutors in the case also declined to comment.
Jones, the Bengals’ third cornerback and a punt returner, still could face discipline from the National Football League under its conduct policy. A message left with the NFL on Tuesday wasn’t immediately returned.
Last month, Jones paid a fine for disorderly conduct after police accused him of making offensive comments in a traffic stop.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct after he was arrested in 2011 in another case. He was accused in that case of shouting profanities and trying to pull away as police arrested him at a bar.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press