Man accused of punching auxiliary bishop pleads not guilty

A man accused of punching an auxiliary bishop during a weekend Mass in Newark has pleaded not guilty to assault.



Charles Miller entered the plea during a brief court appearance Tuesday. He identified himself as a reverend and said the Bible should be considered evidence.



Essex County authorities say the 48-year-old Newark resident punched the Rev. Manuel Cruz in the mouth Saturday at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The incident occurred during a service honoring late baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.



The attack was caught on video because the service was being filmed for the city.



Authorities say Miller got up from a pew, went to the altar and punched Cruz, knocking him down. The bishop needed several stitches at a hospital for a mouth injury. He told his congregants Monday that he is doing well.



A motive for the attack remains under investigation.



The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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