A former Rand Paul volunteer pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge Thursday stemming from an attack of a female liberal activist outside a Senate debate in Kentucky.

An attorney for Tim Profitt, 53, a former county campaign coordinator, said at a court hearing that his client was acting in defense of Paul (R), who won his election the following week. 

"I'm sure he was doing at the time what he thought was necessary," defense attorney Michael Dean said, according to the Associated Press.

The campaign of Paul's Democratic opponent Jack Conway sought to use the incident to paint Paul as extreme in the final days of the campaign, but it was not enough to lift him over the hump. 

The incident drew national attention after video emerged of a man, alleged to be Profitt, was shown to be stomping on the head of Lauren Valle, 23, an activist associated with MoveOn.

Profitt was dismissed as Bourbon County coordinator following the incident and Paul's campaign said that "violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse."