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A jury in Atlanta found Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall not guilty of misdemeanor battery against his former girlfriend, announcing its verdict Friday after about an hour of deliberations.

Marshall had faced two counts of simple battery stemming from a March 4, 2008, argument with then-girlfriend Rasheedah Watley at the Atlanta condominium the couple shared.

Marshall said after the verdict in Fulton County State Court that he had some butterflies in his stomach when deliberations began, but was confident in the work of his lawyers.

"I'm just happy now that legally and emotionally we can move past this," he said, adding that he appreciated the support of teammates and fans. He said he planned to celebrate Friday night by watching his teammates in an offseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.

His lawyer Harvey Steinberg expressed gratitude to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for waiting for the verdict before deciding whether to take any league action. Marshall was suspended for last year's season opener after a series of domestic disputes, and Goodell had said a conviction in the Atlanta case could have led to a second suspension.

Before the verdict was announced, the judge cautioned that no outbursts would be tolerated and asked anyone who might not be able to comply to leave the courtroom. Watley, who was sitting with her family, got up and left. Her family was visibly disappointed at the verdict but declined comment.


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