Johnson pleads no contest to brawl-related charges

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -- Pacers guard Anthony Johnson
pleaded no contest Friday to a count of misdemeanor assault and battery stemming from last season's brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Johnson, one of five Indiana players involved in the fight that started between players on the court and spilled into the stands, is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Oct. 7. Jury selection was to have started Friday.

NBA training camps open Oct. 4.

A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing. Johnson could be sentenced to a maximum of just more than three months in jail and a $500 fine.

Pretrial hearings are scheduled for Monday for David Harrison and for Sept. 23 for Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal.

The Nov. 19 brawl started after Pistons center Ben Wallace shoved Artest following a hard foul. After they were separated, Artest was doused with a beverage and he rushed into the stands and started beating a man he thought had thrown the drink. Some teammates joined him in the stands and clashed with fans on the court.

The NBA suspended Johnson for five games. Artest was suspended
for the rest of the season, Jackson for 30 games and O'Neal for 25.
The league did not suspend Harrison.

O'Neal's suspension was later reduced to 15 games by an
arbitrator and upheld in federal court. The NBA also announced new
security rules.