Prosecutors drop assault charge against Panthers LB Beason

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor assault charge against Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason on Friday because they couldn't find any witnesses who saw him throw a punch.

Beason was arrested after 29-year-old Gregory Frye told a judge that the linebacker hit him in the face at a Charlotte strip club on Nov. 16. Frye sued Beason for more than $10,000 in damages one day later.

However, Frye's statement was the only evidence of an assault that investigators could find, Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Bruce Lillie said Friday.

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"No one indicated they saw Beason strike Frye," Lillie said. "No witnesses have come forward to say they saw Beason strike Frye."

The Panthers let Beason continue to play, and the team said it's pleased the charge was dropped.

Beason's attorney said the linebacker is glad that prosecutors restored his good name.

"His faith in the system paid off," George Laughrun said. "And this also validates the faith the Panthers organization had in him from the beginning."

In his lawsuit against Beason, Frye said the linebacker punched and kicked him as he left the club and he didn't try to fight back. But Beason said the dispute with Frye started when the player tried to kick him out of the VIP area in the club, Lillie said.

Witnesses said the two argued and bumped chests as Beason tried to leave the club, but the linebacker didn't throw a punch, Lillie said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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