Former Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Watson to face sentencing in man’s beating

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Former Madison County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Watson is set to be sentenced by a federal judge Thursday morning for lying under oath.

He was charged with five different counts, accused of viciously beating Robert Bryant during a traffic stop, which prosecutors alleged was revenge for a bar fight.

He only pleaded guilty to what amounted to a perjury charge, with the others being dropped.

The premise of the case follows Justin Watson's bar fight with Robert Bryant in the summer of 2012.

The charges allege Watson later tracked down Bryant, then stopped Bryant's vehicle on August 22, 2012.

The events that follow are heavily disputed, including how many deputies were involved, but Bryant wound up with serious injuries, while Watson came away largely unscathed.

Deputies charged Bryant with an assaulting an officer, but those charges were dropped.

The sheriff's office settled a lawsuit  that named Sheriff Blake Dorning and eight deputies for over $600,000.

In the summer of 2015, Watson was charged with two counts for denying Bryant's rights using his position as a law enforcement officer, three counts of obstruction of justice, including one count for misleading a judge by testifying he'd never seen Bryant before the traffic stop.

Watson eventually agreed to plead guilty to the fifth charge -- the one for lying under oath.

And now he'll face a federal judge for sentencing on the matter.

The defense requested a sentence of three years supervised release, while the prosecution has asked for 33-to-41 months in prison.