DENVER — An FBI agent who accidentally shot a man in the leg while dancing at a Denver nightspot pleaded not guilty to a second-degree assault charge Thursday but attorneys say a plea deal is still possible.
Chase Bishop, 30, entered his plea after waiting his turn to appear before the judge in a courtroom with other defendants. The move came four months after it was disclosed that his lawyer and prosecutors were negotiating a possible deal.
Bishop’s lawyer David Goddard, told District Judge Karen Brody there was no final determination yet so Bishop, who lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area, wanted to proceed with a plea of not guilty.
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Another hearing was scheduled for Jan. 17, to determine whether there would be a plea deal or whether Bishop will go on trial over the June 2 shooting at Mile High Spirits and Distillery.
Video footage shows Bishop dancing in the middle of a circle of people before doing a backflip. The gun falls to the ground mid-flip, and as Bishop picks it up, appears to go off. The video then shows the agent putting the gun back into a waistband holster and walking away with his hands up.
The bystander, Tom Reddington, was treated and released from a hospital.
In June, Goddard issued a statement calling the shooting “an incredibly tragic event” and expressing sympathy for Reddington.
Bishop has been given permission to travel and to carry a gun so he can continue working while the case proceeds. He was allowed to be armed both on and off duty after Goddard told another judge that the FBI strongly encourages its agents to carry their service weapons when they are not working.
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