Charges dropped in Pickering/Hester assault trial - - Jackson, MS

Charges dropped in Pickering/Hester assault trial

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By Roslyn Anderson - bio | email

MADISON, MS (WLBT) - In December, a former Mississippi congressman and a youth soccer coach fought following a match and filed assault charges against each other.

Tuesday, Chip Pickering and Christopher Hester stood before a Madison Municipal Court judge and came to an agreement.

Madison Municipal Court Judge Dale Danks admonished former Congressman Chip Pickering and youth soccer coach Christopher Hester for the altercation on December 6th that happened in front of 10 and 11-year-old soccer players.

"It's a sad day for this community for this to have been exploited through the media for a number of days in a row," said Judge Danks.

Hester and Pickering filed simple assault charges against each other following the incident.

But before the criminal trials could begin each agreed to withdraw the charges so the children who witnessed the altercation would not have to testify.

The 46-year-old Pickering said he was sorry for his actions and its reflection on the city, the soccer league and especially the players.

"I regret very much the entire episode. I was trying to protect my son. I believe Mr. Hester was trying to protect one of his players. What we've learned is there's a better way to do this, and there's a better way we could have handled everything that night," said Pickering.

But Hester is not so eager to put that night behind him.

He refused to shake Pickering's hand after the proceedings and wants compensation.

"Not trying to be little kid and be a spoil sport but I still say I didn't do anything wrong and the truth's gonna come out, and I feel very confident about that as we proceed on, so stay tuned," said Hester.

Hester's attorney, Mac McCool, said his client was recovering from neck surgery when the altercation occurred.

"When he went back and had another MRI done there was some evidence of a flare up so he had take some additional time off work and start on some additional medications," said McCool.

The judge reprimanded the men for their actions but commended them for not subjecting the young players to taking sides and the witness stand.

"While I can be extremely critical for the childish actions both of you partook in that day I do now compliment you from the standpoint that you've recognized the error of your ways," added Danks.

Hester's attorney said they plan file a civil claim against Pickering for damages his 38-year-old client suffered as a result of the incident.

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