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Trial starts for accused cup-thrower at Palace brawl

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -- A trial began Friday for the man
accused of tossing a cup at Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest,
sparking a brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons
fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

John Green, 41, of Oakland County's West Bloomfield Township, is
charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery. He is
the only person with a case still pending in the Nov. 19, 2004
brawl.

A witness testified Friday that he saw Green watching Artest
before he tossed the cup. But a lawyer for Green argued that
tossing a cup isn't assault. Testimony was scheduled to resume on
Monday in 52-3 District Court.

The brawl started after Detroit's Ben Wallace shoved Artest
following a hard foul. After they were separated, Artest was doused
with a beverage, rushed into the stands and began beating a man he
thought had thrown the drink. Some of his teammates joined him in
the stands and also clashed with fans on the court.

Artest and four other Indiana players, Anthony Johnson, David
Harrison, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, were among those
charged in the case. They each pleaded no contest to misdemeanor
assault and battery and were sentenced to probation and community
service. All except Harrison also were suspended by the NBA.