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.