University of Maryland defensive back Keeta Covington, who recently settled out of court in a $840,000 damage suit resulting from a fracas in a bar, faces an April 14 hearing in Upper Marlboro on an unrelated assault and battery charge.

The criminal misdemeanor charge results from an incident the plaintiff, Yvockeea Kim Gray, alleged occurred at 10:30 p.m. last Aug. 20, according to court documents. Gray's statement alleges Covington "struck me twice in the face and pushed me to the ground for no apparent reason" at the Prince George's Hall dorms on the Maryland campus.

Gray, who told police she was with a friend when the incident allegedly happened, said when Covington saw her he "started grabbing at me, at which point I pulled away . . . and then he said that I think I am bad and that I am a hard girl and he would smack me and I said, no, he wouldn't." In her statement, Gray said Covington then proceeded to "smack me in the face," knocking her down, whereupon he allegedly hit her again before being pulled away by his friends.

A court spokesman said there was a plea bargaining arrangement in the works and there had been a pretrial conference April 1. Jeffrey Webber of Crofton, listed on the court documents as Covington's attorney, could not be reached for comment. Covington declined comment on the advice of his attorney. Gray could not be reached for comment.

Covington recently settled a civil suit out of court with Raymond Keppler, a Maryland student who alleged Covington knocked out three of his teeth at the Rendezvous Inn near campus in February 1985.

The settlement figure in that damage suit against Covington and teammate J.D. Maarleveld is believed to be between $6,000 and $8,000. Bruce Plaxen, Keppler's attorney, said Covington paid about 55 percent of the settlement figure and the Rendezvous Inn paid the rest. Maarleveld did not have to pay any damages.