A former three-term Idaho state senator, once hailed as legislator of the year by law enforcement, pleaded not guilty Thursday in a Kootenai County courtroom to a charge of misdemeanor battery.
This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that a jury trial for former Republican Sen. Mike Jorgenson is set for Monday, March 18.
The 64-year-old Jorgenson, a member of the Idaho Senate from 2004 through 2010 and vice chair of the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee, was arrested Feb. 5 at his restaurant, The Copa, in Hayden. That's where an employee said he was roughed up by Jorgenson in a dispute over money.
The alleged victim said his paycheck was short, telling law enforcement that his usual hourly wage was $10 but his most recent paycheck indicated that some hours were paid at $4 or $7. The alleged victim said when he approached Jorgenson about the dispute, "He was trying to beat me up."
Two other employees told police that Jorgenson was "the aggressor," according to the Press.
Jorgenson maintained that the alleged victim fell down, but refused to allow law enforcement to review surveillance video of the incident. Police hauled Jorgenson off to jail shortly thereafter.