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Lawmaker accused of assaulting wife

BISMARCK, N.D. - A state lawmaker facing an assault charge acknowledges he pushed his wife to the ground in the driveway of the couple's home after an argument and called it an "unfortunate private matter."

Rep. Dave Weiler, R-Bismarck, said Monday that he and his wife, Nicole, are trying to work things out and hope the misdemeanor charge will be dropped. It carries a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Dave Weiler, 43, spent about eight hours in the Burleigh County jail until his release just before 10 a.m. Saturday, a jailer said. Weiler declined to say whether he had hired an attorney.

Bismarck Police Lt. Randy Ziegler said Nicole Weiler reported the incident at 12:33 a.m. Saturday. Nicole Weiler, 36, was treated at St. Alexius Medical Center and released early Saturday.

A police report says Weiler shoved his wife to the ground twice, and that she later called police.

"It said that I was accused of pushing my wife to the ground, and that's what happened," Dave Weiler told The Associated Press. "It's an unfortunate matter. It's a private matter. My wife and I are working it out, and that's about it ... We had a little disagreement."

Ziegler said Nicole Weiler suffered a bruised left cheekbone and right bicep, a scrape on her right hand and a gash on her right ankle.

A police report of the incident said Nicole Weiler complained of lightheadedness and nausea and was urged to seek treatment by officers who worried she had suffered a concussion.

Ziegler said the Weilers began arguing in the parking lot of a convenience store on Bismarck's north side Friday night. They were in separate vehicles, and continued their dispute when they arrived at their home in southwest Bismarck, Ziegler said.

The charge is being handled in Bismarck municipal court. Bismarck city offices were closed Monday because of a blizzard, and the city attorney could not be reached for comment.

Dave Weiler was first elected to the House in 2000. He was re-elected to a new four-year term last November. He is vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee and a member of the House's Finance and Taxation Committee.

He was active last fall in a statewide campaign to support a proposed constitutional amendment to create a state trust fund for surplus oil tax revenues. It was defeated.

Weiler is the principal sponsor of an alternative trust-fund amendment in the 2009 Legislature, which has bipartisan support and backing from organizations that include the North Dakota Education Association and the North Dakota Public Employees Association.