Updated, May 29, 2009 at 11:15 p.m. ET.
John Rich is free on $3,000 bond
after assault and harassment charges against him were filed by former Nashville Star contestant Jared Ashley. Rich
turned himself in to Nashville police and immediately posted bond Thursday (May 28) on two counts of assault and one of harassment.
All are misdemeanor charges. It's the latest development of an ongoing disagreement between Rich and Ashley. In April, Rich
filed a lawsuit in Nashville claiming Ashley defamed him during an interview with a Florida radio station when he falsely
stated that Rich hit him in the face during an altercation at the Spot, Rich's private club in Nashville. In the suit, Rich
said Ashley entered the club without permission on March 13 and had to be removed by security after being asked to leave.
Rich says the charges Ashley brought against him this week are false. In a statement released by his attorney, Rich said,
"Singer Jared Ashley and Music Row attorney Chris Sevier demanded I pay $2.9 million in exchange for dropping false misdemeanor
charges that they levied against me. They filed the misdemeanor charges in retaliation to the civil suit regarding defamation
that I filed against Jared Ashley. I refused to pay the $2.9 million and instead opted to turn myself in and fight this in
court." In an interview with The Associated Press, Sevier denied that a financial offer had been made to Rich to settle the
matter. "There was no discussion about settling the criminal case with money," Sevier said. "That is improper in and of itself."