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updated: 2/26/2018 5:14 PM

Despite verdict, Haley Reinhart maintains innocence in Palatine bar brawl

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  • Video: "Unjust in my eyes"

  • Haley Reinhart and attorney Carmine Trombetta speak with the media Monday after a Cook County judge found her guilty of battery. The local ordinance violation stemmed from a July 8 fracas at a Palatine bar.

      Haley Reinhart and attorney Carmine Trombetta speak with the media Monday after a Cook County judge found her guilty of battery. The local ordinance violation stemmed from a July 8 fracas at a Palatine bar.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Matthew Manno, a bouncer at Lamplighter Inn Tavern & Grill in Palatine, leaves the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows on Monday after testifying against former "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart. The singer was found guilty of a battery charge that alleged she punched Manno during a July 8 altercation.

      Matthew Manno, a bouncer at Lamplighter Inn Tavern & Grill in Palatine, leaves the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows on Monday after testifying against former "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart. The singer was found guilty of a battery charge that alleged she punched Manno during a July 8 altercation.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart maintained her innocence Monday after a judge found her guilty of battery in connection with a brawl last summer at a Palatine bar. Authorities said Reinhart, formerly of Wheeling, punched a bouncer who was trying to remove her from the business.

      "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart maintained her innocence Monday after a judge found her guilty of battery in connection with a brawl last summer at a Palatine bar. Authorities said Reinhart, formerly of Wheeling, punched a bouncer who was trying to remove her from the business.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart, center, arrives in court Monday before her trial on a battery charge stemming from her role in a Palatine bar brawl last summer. She later was found guilty.

      "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart, center, arrives in court Monday before her trial on a battery charge stemming from her role in a Palatine bar brawl last summer. She later was found guilty.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Haley Reinhart, right, formerly of Wheeling, was ordered to pay a $500 fine Monday after a judge found her guilty of a battery charge in connection with a Palatine bar brawl last July.

      Haley Reinhart, right, formerly of Wheeling, was ordered to pay a $500 fine Monday after a judge found her guilty of a battery charge in connection with a Palatine bar brawl last July.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Haley Reinhart discusses her case alongside attorney Carmine Trombetta on Monday, after a judge found her guilty of battery for her part in a fracas at a Palatine bar last summer. Reinhart was fined $500.

      Haley Reinhart discusses her case alongside attorney Carmine Trombetta on Monday, after a judge found her guilty of battery for her part in a fracas at a Palatine bar last summer. Reinhart was fined $500.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine Village Prosecutor James Etchingham discusses the case against "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart after court Monday. Reinhart was found guilty of a battery charge alleging she punched a bouncer during an altercation at a Palatine bar.

      Palatine Village Prosecutor James Etchingham discusses the case against "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart after court Monday. Reinhart was found guilty of a battery charge alleging she punched a bouncer during an altercation at a Palatine bar.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Matthew Manno, a bouncer at Lamplighter Inn Tavern & Grill in Palatine, leaves the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows on Monday after testifying against former "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart. The singer was found guilty of a battery charge that alleged she punched Manno during a July 8 altercation.

      Matthew Manno, a bouncer at Lamplighter Inn Tavern & Grill in Palatine, leaves the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows on Monday after testifying against former "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart. The singer was found guilty of a battery charge that alleged she punched Manno during a July 8 altercation.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 

Former "American Idol" finalist and Wheeling native Haley Reinhart maintained her innocence Monday even after a judge found her guilty of a battery charge related to a bar brawl last summer in Palatine.

"Nowhere during this night prior to, during or after was there any bad intention from my end," Reinhart said outside the Rolling Meadows courtroom where a Cook County judge ruled her guilty of punching a bouncer. "I went out that night wanting to dance and have a great time with my (girlfriends). The fact this got turned and so twisted by these people that are all in cahoots with each other is beyond me.

"It's really unfortunate and unjust in my eyes. I will not back down on that."

Reinhart, 27, now living in Los Angeles, insisted she did not intentionally strike bouncer Matthew Manno during the July 8 fracas at Lamplighter Inn Tavern & Grille in downtown Palatine. But Judge James Karahalios, who presided over the brief trial Monday, said surveillance video of the altercation provided overwhelming evidence otherwise.

Reinhart was ordered to pay a $500 fine and another $139 in court costs after being found guilty of the local ordinance violation. She'll be able to get the conviction cleared from her record in two years if she has no further criminal violations.

Following a 90-minute bench trial in which both Reinhart and Manno testified, Karahalios called Reinhart's testimony "evasive, argumentative and sometimes implausible."

During testimony, Reinhart repeatedly denied striking Manno's left eye with her right fist. On cross-examination by Palatine Village Prosecutor James Etchingham and questioning by the judge, Reinhart said it was possible she made contact with the bouncer, as she tried to break free from his grip on her wrist while he was trying to escort her out of the bar. But she said it wasn't intentional.

"It could be possible, but without it being a punch to hurt somebody," she told the judge.

Reinhart said she thinks she was singled out by the bar staff, who never explained why she was being thrown out. But the judge told her that didn't matter; ultimately the video shows her hand making contact with the bouncer.

"It was a regular roundhouse punch to the face," Karahalios said.

According to testimony, the altercation occurred on the bar's crowded upstairs dance floor about 1:45 a.m. Reinhart, dancing with a group of four girlfriends, testified that someone bumped into one of them, causing her friend to stumble into a rope that acts as a barrier between patrons and the DJ.

Manno was called upstairs by other bouncers to remove Reinhart, who he testified was swearing and acting "belligerent, loud and unruly."

Manno said Reinhart struck him in the midsection, and after he grasped her wrist, she broke free and punched him.

Nearby, a brawl erupted, involving other bouncers and Reinhart's friend Alan Chislof, who suffered a concussion, broken nose, black eyes and other injuries. Lamplighter employee Adam Sobanski, 32, was charged with aggravated battery after authorities say he choked and struck Chislof. That case is pending.

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