A campaign volunteer for Republican U.S. Sen.-elect Rand Paul who was caught on videotape stepping on a liberal activist outside a U.S. Senate debate in Kentucky has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge.
Tim Profitt, 53, of Bourbon County appeared before Fayette District Judge David Hayse for his arraignment Thursday afternoon on the fourth-degree assault charge.
A news crew shot footage of Profitt and other supporters of Paul restraining Lauren L. Valle, 23, an activist with the liberal group MoveOn.org. The confrontation happened outside the debate last month between Paul and his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway.
Profitt told the Herald-Leader that he was concerned that the woman was trying to attack Paul and acted only to subdue her.
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A criminal summons says Profitt "intentionally placed his foot on the shoulder/head region on the victim."
Profitt's attorney, Michael Dean, reiterated Thursday that his client was trying to protect Paul.
"It was just wanting her to stay down until police could come," Dean said.
Shortly after video surfaced, Paul's campaign issued a statement condemning Profitt's actions — without naming him — and said it had cut ties with him.
Hayse scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 7.