CIA ex-contractor pleads not guilty to Colorado assault

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 30, 2012 8:03 PM
CIA ex-contractor pleads not guilty to Colorado assault

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A former CIA contractor who caused an international incident last year when he shot dead two men in Pakistan pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of assaulting a Colorado man in a dispute over a parking spot outside a bagel shop.

Raymond Davis, 37, entered his plea in Douglas County District Court where he faces charges of second-degree felony assault, misdemeanor disorderly conduct and fighting in public, said Casimir Spencer, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Davis has a September trial date in the case, and remains free on $1,750 bond. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison if convicted.

U.S. relations with Pakistan were damaged after Davis, a former U.S. special forces officer, fatally shot two Pakistani men in the eastern city of Lahore in January 2011. Davis said the men were trying to rob him and that he acted in self defense.

Davis was employed under a CIA contract in Pakistan at the time by Xe Services, the controversial private security company formerly known as Blackwater. He was acquitted of murder charges and allowed to leave Pakistan after a $2.3 million payment was made to the men's families.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the time that the U.S. government did not pay the "blood money" but declined to say who did.

Sergeant Ron Hanavan of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said Davis punched Jeffrey Maes, 50, and knocked him to the ground in October after the men argued over the parking spot in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch.

Police were dispatched to the shopping center after getting reports of an altercation in the parking lot, and Davis was arrested. Police said Davis instigated the fight, and hurt Maes in the back, neck and arm.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Will Dunham)