AIKEN, S.C. (AP) – James Brown was released from jail Thursday on a domestic violence charge and was told not to contact the wife he’s accused of pushing to the floor.

The 70-year-old Godfather of Soul, who had been arrested the previous day at the couple’s Beech Island home, denied the charge at a brief hearing.

“The main thing is I would never hurt my wife and beat up on her like that,” Brown said. “I love her very much.”

Investigators say Brown pushed 33-year-old Tomi Rae Brown to the floor during an argument in a bedroom. She had scratches and bruises on her right arm and hip and was taken to an Augusta, Ga., hospital, Aiken County police said. She was not present at Thursday’s hearing.

If convicted, Brown faces a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Brown’s attorney Jim Huff said the charges won’t affect the state pardon the singer received in May. The pardon was for a 1988 drug and assault conviction, for which he spent 2½ years in jail, and a second drug-related offense in 1998.

Last month, Brown was honored at the Kennedy Center as “one of the most influential musicians of the past 50 years.”

AP-ES-01-29-04 1217EST

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