John Rich turned himself in to police Thursday to face misdemeanor charges of assault and harassment filed by former 'Nashville Star' contestant Jared Ashley.

The charges stem partly from an alleged altercation at Rich's private Nashville nightclub, The Spot, where Ashley claims the country mogul punched him in the face. Rich insists that he simply had security throw the aspiring singer out, as he was in the club without permission.

"This entire ridiculous situation is nothing more than an effort by Jared Ashley and Music Row attorney Chris Sevier, to try to obtain money from me," Rich writes in a statement obtained by MusicCityTV.com. "Mr. Sevier and Mr. Ashley have falsely accused me of misdemeanor crimes. I trust that the truth will come out through the process of our American justice system and that I will be completely exonerated at the end of the day."

The feud between the two singers has been brewing for a few years. Rich once accused Ashley of breaking into his Nashville home -- a claim Ashley vehemently denies. Just one day after the incident at The Spot, Ashley posted a YouTube video of his performance at a downtown Nashville honkeytonk, during which Rich gets up on stage and interrupts the set. And in April, Rich sued Ashley for defamation, taking Ashley to task for saying in a radio interview that Rich had punched him.

"It's unfortunately common in my line of work that there are a very small number of people who want to take advantage of another person's success and try to get something for nothing," Rich says in his prepared statement. "I truly did make every effort to work this out in connection with the defamation lawsuit I filed against Mr. Ashley."

Rich explains that he turned himself in to police because he'd rather defend himself through the law than try to settle with Ashley.

"I decided that a civil settlement would be impossible due to the fact that Mr. Ashley and his attorney demanded that I pay Jared Ashley 2.9 million dollars, even though he is the one who has defamed me," Rich insists.

Rich was released Thursday on $3,000 bond.


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