Trial Delayed for Ole Miss Basketball Coach

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A judge delayed the assault trial of Mississippi basketball coach Andy Kennedy on Friday until after the NCAA tournament.

Also Friday, the cab driver who accused Kennedy of hitting him
and using ethnic slurs filed a lawsuit against the coach in
response to Kennedy's defamation lawsuit.

The latest lawsuit seeks damages from Kennedy for the alleged
assault and accuses the coach of filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Kennedy's trial on the criminal charge was set for April 20
after his attorney, Mike Allen, asked that a jury trial be held
after the basketball season.

Kennedy faces a first-degree misdemeanor count of assault, which
would carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail if convicted.

"He's confident in the ultimate outcome in this case, which we
believe will be vindication for him," Allen said. "I'm not at
liberty to discuss the facts at this time, but suffice to say, we
vehemently deny any of these charges."

Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou told police that Kennedy punched him
in the face and called him "(Osama) bin Laden" and other
derogatory terms during a Dec. 18 dispute that centered on how many
passengers were allowed in his taxi.

Police arrested Kennedy, who was in town for the SEC/Big East
Invitational Tournament.

Kennedy, 40, a former assistant coach and interim head coach at
the University of Cincinnati, denied the allegations. He sued
Jiddou for alleged defamation, along with a valet who said he
witnessed the altercation.

Jiddou, 25, a native of the northwest Africa country of
Mauritania, says in his countersuit that Kennedy's lawsuit was
meant to harass him and cause him needless costs.

Michael Strother, the valet witness, also countersued, alleging
Kennedy's lawsuit was frivolous.

"I've been practicing for 46 years, and I've never heard of
such a thing - a witness who was acting essentially as a Good
Samaritan who stepped forward to tell police what he believes he
saw, and then he is sued for $25,000 or more," said Phil
Taliaferro, Strother's attorney.

Richard Katz, Kennedy's lawyer in the civil matters, said he
hadn't seen the counterclaims and couldn't comment on them.

"It's not unexpected," Katz said. "We'll respond to it at the
appropriate time."

The cab driver and valet also face civil allegations that they
caused a "loss of consortium" between Kennedy and his wife,