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Packers LB Walden charged with misdemeanor domestic abuse

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers linebacker Erik Walden was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor disorderly conduct-domestic abuse following a fight with his girlfriend.

Walden didn't appear for a Brown County Circuit Court hearing, but defense attorney Steve Richards entered a not-guilty plea on his client's behalf. Walden remains free on bond and is due back in court Dec. 27.

If convicted, Walden would face up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. County District Attorney John Zakowski acknowledged the possibility of a plea-bargain agreement that would spare Walden from serving additional jail time.

Richards noted that the charge Walden faces is less severe than suspicion of felony domestic violence-substantial battery, which he was arrested for last month.

"It's clear, I think, at least from the district attorney's perspective, the initial charge that jailed Mr. Walden was probably inappropriate," Richards said. "Now that they've looked at it, I think they feel that something occurred, but what it is amounts to no more than a disorderly conduct."

Walden was arrested after a Nov. 25 dispute with his live-in girlfriend, identified in the complaint as Erika T. Palmer.

"He was going to Georgia to visit his mother," Richards said. "He's having his jersey retired at his old high school, but he was leaving his girlfriend and the two children behind. She was upset with that, and there was an apparent argument over that, and then one thing led to another. And I think the injury sustained by Ms. Palmer was an accident, and that's pretty much confirmed by both parties."

Richards said there is a no-contact order in place between Walden and his girlfriend.

According to the complaint, Palmer originally told police that Walden pushed her, causing her to fall and hit a bed post and cut her forehead. Palmer said she then attempted to punch Walden in self-defense.

The complaint says that once Palmer found out Walden would be arrested, she began to change her story to say instead that she provoked him.

Walden, who spent the weekend after Thanksgiving in jail after his arrest, made a public apology to the Packers, his teammates and fans after he was released, and he played in Sunday's victory over the Giants in New York. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Walden's situation is "under review" by the team and the NFL.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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