CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A jury announced its verdict Thursday afternoon in the trial of a football player accused of physically assaulting a man at a strip club in Charlotte two years ago.
Gregory Frye sued Carolina Panthers player Jon Beason for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and damages.
Frye claimed the football player punched Frye at the Uptown Cabaret near center city in November 2009. Frye said the assault crushed his nasal cavity.
Beason, however, counter sued Frye for malicious prosecution, slander, and damages in the amount of $1.
After five hours of deliberations, the jury announced its verdict just after noon on Thursday.
They ruled in favor of Beason saying he did commit battery against Gregory Frye. This means Frye will get no money.
Frye was found not liable of malicious prosecution, but he was liable of slander. As a result of his counter suit, Beason was awarded $1.
"It's been a long time coming, so it's almost been two years, so I think for us in the public eye, once somebody says something, certain people are going to believe it. That's the thing that was most troubling to sleep with," said Beason.
Reporter Sarah Batista was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced. She said Beason looked very happy, and that he hugged his attorney. Frye, however, looked extremely upset with the jury's decision.
Frye released the following statement to WBTV:
"I believe the evidence in this case against Jon Beason was monumental.
This is just one more example of how some celebrities, like Jon Beason, can break the law and get away with it. This is nothing new. We've all seen this situation before.
I want to thank the jurors for their time and service to the courts. Unfortunately, the jurors never got to see the missing video surveillance footage from Uptown Cabaret. If they had, obviously their verdict would have been different.
There is one person who clearly knows he assaulted me, and that is Jon Beason. He may appear happy and claim to be exonerated, but tonight when he goes home and lies down, he still knows in his heart that he hit me. He has to live with this."
Before deliberations resumed Thursday morning, jury members requested two things from Judge Lane Williamson.
For the second day in a row, the judge denied the jury's request to see medical records for reasons that are not clear at this time.
The judge did grant the jury's second request to see a layout of the Uptown Caberet. The jurors wanted to see the floor plan of the establishment.
Closing arguments in the case were presented Wednesday.
Defense Attorney Curtis Osborne said he prayed they jurors would do the "right thing."
Osborne also told the jurors that Frye has had to deal with the long-term affects of his broken nose, has sinus problems, and has to take various medications.
Osborne concluded by saying that Beason knows he hit Frye that night, and that "we have to send out a message that this will not be tolerated."
Beason's attorney, George Laughrun, then presented his closing arguments.
He said Frye was out to get money from day one. Laughrun painted Frye as someone who is not credible and has no friends.
"If your best friend said she wanted to marry Greg Frye, what would you say?" Laughrun asked the jurors.
Laughrun said it was impossible for his client to hit Frye because he's almost six inches taller than Beason.
During testimony presented earlier in the week, Beason said several people at the club told him Frye was spreading rumors at the club by saying Beason had used cocaine at a party.
Last week, Frye testified in court that he saw Beason using cocaine at a party during the summer of 2009 and that's what led to the confrontation.
Beason, however, told the court that he has never done cocaine.
Beason said he couldn't believe it and got angry. When he confronted Frye, Beason says he took a swing, but missed.
"I was so blown away by the accusations that I couldn't control myself, and at that time I attempted to take a swing at Mr. Frye," said Beason.
During cross examination, Frye's attorneys set out to prove the professional athlete could pack a powerful punch. They presented a picture of Beason lifting a woman on each arm during a party.
"Though you're strong enough to hold a lady in each arm who are both arguably bigger than Joey Simmons, you're saying that Joey Simmons had the strength to stop your arm in mid swing?" asked Frye's attorney.
"Yes, that's what I'm saying," replied Beason.
An officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department who was called to investigate the incident testified in court Monday morning. The cop said Frye claimed that Beason punched him.
Beason's friend, Joseph Simmons, told the officer that Beason attempted to punch Frye, but missed. Simmons told the detective he then told Beason to leave the club.
Also on Monday, Beason's former high school coach, Tim Lester, testified in court. Lester was at the Uptown Cabaret on November 15, 2009. If Beason punched Frye, Lester says he didn't know about it.
"That could've never happened, never been done by Jon," said Lester.
Lester says he was shocked when he heard Frye was spreading rumors.
"That kind of upset me," said Lester, "I know Jon, and I know he would never do cocaine."
Lester says he left with Beason that night, but he says he and Beason never talked about the incident.
The defense called several witnesses to the stand on Monday in an effort to discredit Frye's claims.
Several CMPD officers who responded to the incident said that Frye smelled of alcohol and lied to them about being a player for the Carolina Panthers.
Last week, Frye testified that Beason punched him in the face.
"I felt the reason he assaulted me was because in June 2009, I witnessed Jon Beason do cocaine through a straw with a female," Frye said.
Carolina Panthers player Dante Rosario testified on Friday. Rosario said he saw Frye on November 15, 2009, at the Strike City bowling alley at the Epicentre in uptown Charlotte and later saw Frye at a VIP room at the Uptown Cabaret.
Rosario said Frye approached him in the club and pointed to Beason, saying, "Hey, that guy over there, he's a teammate of yours, I saw him doing cocaine out at Lake Norman in the summer."
Rosario was surprised by the accusation and immediately told Beason what Frye said.
"It was unbelievable to him (Beason), that someone he didn't know was talking about him," Rosario told the court.
Rosario said Beason went to the front bar area and confronted Frye about the accusation.
Rosario said he wasn't sure wasn't sure what happened next. When he walked outside the club, he saw Frye holding a bloody napkin over his face.
"He (Beason) said that someone hit Mr. Frye," Rosario said on the stand.
Beason's friend and private chef Joseph Simmons, also testified Friday. He claims he saw Beason confront Frye and pulled him away, but he never saw him throw a punch.