Former state senator Joe Haynes pleads not guilty to sexual battery

Photo: WKRN

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former State Senator Joe Haynes appeared in a Cheatham County courtroom on Monday morning to be arraigned on one count of felony sexual battery. He pleaded not guilty.

The charge stems from what Metro police said was a July 25, 2016 incident with a female acquaintance.

The alleged female victim told police she had hired Haynes as an attorney to help her with the estate of her recently deceased mother.

Haynes reportedly met the woman at her deceased mother’s house. The victim said Haynes grabbed her buttocks and attempted to French kiss her.

Metro police said she reported the crime on July 26, 2016.

After Monday morning’s arraignment, Haynes spoke to News 2.

“I just want to state one thing. I’m not guilty of the charge and I look forward to, I have great faith in the judicial system, and I look forward to being vindicated,” he said.

Haynes’ wife Barbara attended the court hearing. Barbara Haynes is a former Davidson County Court judge.

All Davidson County Court judges recused themselves from the case, as well as District Attorney Glenn Funk, so the case was moved to Cheatham County.

Cheatham County judge David Wolfe heard Monday’s arraignment and will preside over the entire case. The 10th Judicial District Attorney General Stephen Crump will prosecute the case. The 10th Judicial District is located in East Tennessee.

Despite the Cheatham County judge and East Tennessee prosecutor, Haynes’ defense attorney Jim Weatherly told News 2 that he hopes the trial will take place in Nashville.

“This judge has been appointed to handle the case as a result of all the judges in Davidson County recusing themselves, but that does not move the venue or the trial location from Davidson County. We prefer that it be held there,” he said.

The trial date has not yet been set.