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O.J. Simpson denies wife beating charge

LOS ANGELES -- Former professional football star O.J. Simpson pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges he beat his wife during a New Year's Day argument in which he allegedly screamed 'I'll kill you.'

The Heisman Trophy winner was not present at his West Los Angeles Municipal Court arraignment, but entered his plea to one misdemeanor count of spousal battery through his attorney, Howard Weitzman.

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Simpson, 41, who remains free from custody, was scheduled to go to trial on the charge April 10.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail and be fined $1,000.

Authorities said the beating occurred early New Year's Day while the couple argued at their Brentwood home.

The ex-NFL star is accused of slapping and kicking his wife, Nicole, 29, in their bedroom, and allegedly screamed, 'I'll kill you,' authorities said. Police records allege he also struck her with 'open and closed fists and pulled her hair.'

The charge was apparently filed against the wishes of Nicole Simpson, whom Simpson married in 1985. Although she initially asked police to arrest her husband, she later changed her mind.

Simpson was a Heisman Trophy-winning running back at the University of Southern California who went on to star with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. Since his retirement from football, he has done some acting and worked as sportscaster.

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