Andy Kennedy hoping to avoid court in his assault case

CINCINNATI (AP) - Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy hopes to have his assault case settled on Monday instead of facing an assault trial in Hamilton County Municipal Court.

Even if the criminal case is settled in a plea bargain, Kennedy is embroiled in lawsuits over his arrest in December on a misdemeanor assault charge. A cab driver claimed that Kennedy punched him and called him a terrorist when the team was in town for a game.

Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone said in a statement last week that Kennedy "is keeping me informed, and he is hopeful there will be a resolution on Monday." He faces up to six months in jail if convicted.

Lawyers for Kennedy and cab driver Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou didn't return phone messages on Friday to discuss the status of the case. However, a document filed in court last week involving a witness subpoena indicated there would be no trial on Monday.

Kennedy was the interim coach at the University of Cincinnati for one season after Bob Huggins was ousted. He went to Ole Miss and returned to town for a game against Louisville on Dec. 18 as part of the SEC/Big East Invitational.

Kennedy was at a downtown bar with friends and Ole Miss staff the night before the game and hailed a cab. Jiddou, a 25-year-old native of northwest Africa, said Kennedy and four others tried to get into his cab, which was more than it could legally carry.

The cab driver said he told Kennedy he couldn't take the entire party, and the coach hit him in the face, calling him "bin Laden, Saddam Hussein." Police said the left side of Jiddou's face was swollen afterward.

Kennedy was released from jail in time to coach the game. Following a 77-68 loss to Louisville, Kennedy referred to the "heinous accusations" made by the cab driver.

The case escalated when Kennedy sued Jiddou for alleged defamation, along with a valet who said he witnessed the altercation. Jiddou and the valet countersued. In those civil cases, the lawyers are wrangling over whether depositions should be delayed until the criminal case is settled.