NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana state Sen. Troy Brown pleaded no contest to simple battery Wednesday morning for punching a woman in the face last November who New Orleans Police called his "side friend."
Brown was arrested at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown New Orleans after the 2015 Bayou Classic football game.
Brown admitted to punching his girlfriend after the Bayou Classic in the no contest plea and Judge Camile Buras sentenced him to inactive probation for 6 months along with a $500 fine and misdemeanor court costs.
"The difference between pleading guilty and pleading no contest is a no contest plea is not admissible in a civil proceeding. It's just a lesser level of culpability in my mind but is really not going to make much of a difference," said WWL-TV Legal Analyst Donald "Chick" Foret.
Judge Buras said in court Wednesday that Brown started anger management classes on July 20, two days after his latest arrest for allegedly biting his wife at their Ascension Parish home.
Brown's girlfriend, Katasha Willis, was in court as he entered his plea.
Willis said she's was not afraid of Brown and asked Buras not to issue a restraining order.
At the time of his arrest, Brown said in an email that he didn't remember what happened because he had been suffering from alcohol-induced memory loss after a car accident left him with a brain injury decades earlier.
Last month the victim, Brown's girlfriend, signed an affidavit asking Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro to drop the charge against Brown saying it was in "everyone's" best interest.
Even though Brown's plea resolves the Orleans Parish case, his legal and political troubles are far from over.
"This gives his critics in and out of the Senate more ammunition because previously he could always say innocent until proven guilty, well, now he's been proven guilty of at least one charge of battery," said WWL-TV Political Analyst Clancy DuBos.
Sen. Brown has refused to step down from his seat in the state Senate, despite calls from the Governor and other democratic and republican lawmakers to do so.
"This is not the kind of thing that will just blow over. Domestic abuse has become a front and center issue, a front-burner issue," DuBos said.
Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, stopped short of calling for Brown's resignation.
"I think it would be improper of me to make a public determination because I would have to preside over any proceeding in the Senate if it came to that," Alario said Wednesday.
Alario removed Brown from all Senate committee assignments after the last arrest involving Brown's wife.
(© 2016 WWL)