The two suspects who brutally attacked Grammy-nominated country music producer Dave Brainard and his friend Deborah DeLoach are now claiming that they attacked in self defense.

"My clients were defending themselves," Mark Scruggs, the attorney defending suspects Dustin Hargrove, 30, and Nichole Hargrove, 30, tells the Tennessean, "and [Brainard] got hurt accidentally in the process."

The incident took place early on the morning of Sept. 27. According to Nashville police, DeLoach was hit by the Hargroves' Infiniti sedan, prompting Nichole Hargrove to get out and start yelling, eventually leading to a grisly attack. Brainard was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery after being punched, choked until he was unconscious and injured with a broken jaw, shattered teeth and multiple lacerations, allegedly by Dustin Hargrove; DeLoach was allegedly attacked by Nichole Hargrove. The suspects left the scene before police arrived.

However, Scruggs is now claiming that Brainard and DeLoach initiated a confrontation after the Hargroves' car nearly hit them in the crosswalk in downtown Nashville. Scruggs also says that DeLoach would not move out of the car's path and began shouting; Nichole Hargrove got out to make her move, and Dustin Hargrove opened his door to break up the fight. And that's when Brainard approached them.

"Before he can even get away from his door, Brainard comes around to his side and confronts him," Scruggs says, adding, "Brainard brought this on himself."

According to Scruggs, Dustin Hargrove was trying to protect himself from Brainard (whom Hargrove thought was an out-of-control drunk) when Brainard fell and hit his jaw.

"He had no idea Brainard had been injured so badly," Scruggs insists.

In early October, after the suspects turned themselves in, Dustin Hargrove was charged with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault, while his wife was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Scruggs has asked Nashville General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland to order the release of Brainard's medical records; he's also asking if Brainard was intoxicated during the event. But Assistant District Attorney General Vince Wyatt says that the request for records was an attempt to stall the case, which is set for a Jan. 27 preliminary hearing. At that hearing, the judge will decide whether there is evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

"The victim has nothing to hide," Wyatt says. "I feel like it's an attempt to delay the process."

Brainard's manager, Stephen Linn of AmpliFLY Entertainment, says that Brainard "trusts the process and the investigation will reveal the facts of what really happened."

Brainard, a self-taught producer, has produced albums for country stars including Brandy Clark, Jamey Johnson and Jerrod Niemann and written songs for Neal McCoy, Brooks & Dunn and others.

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