Ex-CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi pleads not guilty to five charges

Disgraced former broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi pleaded not guilty Thursday to five charges against him.

TORONTO — Disgraced former broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi pleaded not guilty Thursday to five charges against him.

The former host of CBC Radio’s cultural affairs show “Q” is facing five charges including four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

Ghomeshi’s trial on those charges begins Feb. 1, 2016 and will be by judge only.

The 48-year-old did not speak with reporters as he walked into the courthouse in downtown Toronto where he was arraigned during a court appearance.

Ghomeshi, wearing a dark suit and tie, spoke only two words in court, “not guilty,” when asked how he pleaded. He had to repeat that because he wasn’t speaking into a microphone.

Judge William Horkins then cleared the public and media from the courtroom to deal with a motion.

Ghomeshi was originally charged with seven counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, but the Crown withdrew two sexual assault charges in May because they said there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

He is also facing one charge of sexual assault that is being tried separately. That trial is scheduled to begin next June.

The CBC fired Ghomeshi last October after executives saw what they described as graphic evidence that he had physically injured a woman.

The one-time radio star has admitted to engaging in rough sex, but said it was consensual.

The alleged assaults for which he was originally charged occurred between 2002 and 2008.

Ghomeshi’s $100,000 bail conditions require him to remain in Ontario and live with his mother.