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Scottie Scheffler’s case in alleged assault of Louisville police officer headed back to court

FILE - Scottie Scheffler speaks during a news conference during the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was detained by police Friday morning for not following police instructions during a traffic jam that followed a traffic fatality involving a pedestrian, ESPN reported. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

(CNN) — A Kentucky county’s top prosecutor and the attorney for world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler will speak at a hearing in court Wednesday, 12 days after the PGA Tour star was arrested while trying to drive around the scene of a fatal crash while on his way to the PGA Championship in Louisville.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell will address the court at 1 p.m. ET while attorney Steve Romines will appear on behalf of Scheffler, who lives in Texas and has permission to miss this hearing that only recently appeared on the court docket.

Josh Abner, O’Connell’s spokesperson, declined to comment on what Wednesday’s hearing is about. Last week, Scheffler’s arraignment was pushed back to June 3.

Romines on Tuesday reiterated to CNN that Scheffler’s position is the charges should be dismissed or he will go to trial without a plea deal. The Louisville-based attorney wouldn’t say whether a resolution has been reached or whether charges will be dropped Wednesday. He has scheduled a news conference for just 30 minutes after the court hearing begins.

Scheffler, 27, faces several charges, including felony second-degree assault on a police officer on suspicion of dragging an officer with his car while arriving at the Valhalla Golf Club early in the morning May 17. He also faces the lesser charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic, according to Jefferson County court records. The date of the arraignment was pushed back after a request from his lawyer.

Scheffler has called the incident a “big misunderstanding,” and Romines has said his client would plead not guilty. CNN spoke to sources in the police department who have said some officials believe the charges should be reduced.

The prosecutors’ office said Thursday it was still reviewing evidence and interviewing investigators about the charges.

The golfer’s arrest was a dramatic shakeup for the PGA Championship, given Scheffler – a new father who one golf writer described as an upstanding, “squeaky clean” player – was the overwhelming favorite on the heels of winning his second Masters title last month. He ultimately finished eight shots behind the winner, Xander Schauffele, for a share of eighth place.

“I did my best to leave that behind me and come out here and compete and do what I love, and the support I got from the fans was amazing,” Scheffler told reporters May 19, following the tournament. “I think they were cheering extra loud for me this week, and I got a lot of support from the players and caddies as well.”

‘A very chaotic situation’

The arrest unfolded around 6 a.m. on May 17, when Scheffler was attempting to drive to the Valhalla Golf Club for the second round of the golf major and came upon heavy traffic near the scene of a fatal crash.

Earlier in the morning, a pedestrian – John Mills, 69, whose family said he enjoyed working in security at Valhalla – was fatally struck by a bus while trying to cross the main road leading to the course, Louisville police spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said. As a result, police had an increased presence around the course’s entrance.

Scheffler – driving a marked player courtesy vehicle, according to ESPN – was trying to gain access to the course when he was stopped by an officer wearing a full police uniform and a yellow reflective rain jacket, a Louisville police report says. The officer, Detective Bryan Gillis, stopped Scheffler and attempted to give instructions.

“Subject refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground,” the report states.

The detective suffered pain, swelling and cuts to his left wrist and knee and was taken to a hospital for further treatment, the report states. His uniform pants, valued at about $80, “were damaged beyond repair,” the report adds.

At a news conference last week where video of the incident was released, Louisville Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said the detective failed to turn on his body-worn camera and “corrective action for the policy violation” has been taken.

Scheffler was detained and arrested, but he was later released from jail and returned to the golf course for his tee time four hours later. In a statement shared May 17 on his Instagram account, Scheffler said he believed he was following officers’ instructions.

“This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers. It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do,” he said. “I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.”

Romines, Scheffler’s attorney, similarly said his client “did not do anything wrong,” citing the accounts of multiple eyewitnesses.

“He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle,” Romines said in an earlier statement. “We will plead not guilty and litigate this matter as needed.”

Despite spending part of his morning in a jail cell and getting his mug shot taken in an orange jumpsuit, Scheffler played well May 17 and shot 5-under par, leaving him near the top of the leaderboard. But he struggled the next day, leaving himself with too much ground to make up to clinch a second consecutive major.

As for his apparent legal troubles, the golfer was unsure what would come next, telling reporters on May 19, “I think it’s all up in the air.”

“I think I’m able to get home tonight but we’ll see when I leave here,” he said. “I haven’t really had much chance to assess the situation off the course.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Gloria Pazmino, Jill Martin, Jack Bantock, Eric Levenson, Ray Sanchez and Andy Rose contributed to this report.