RAHWAY — A verbal confrontation that turned physical outside a city bar nearly a year ago has resulted in a guilty verdict recently being returned by a Union County grand jury.

Michael Johnston, 45, of Winfield Park was convicted last week on charges of second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, according to a release Thursday from the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

Johnston is now facing a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison.

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In the early morning hours of Aug. 30, 2021, prosecutors said, a Rahway police officer was approached near a CVS on St. Georges Avenue by a 25-year-old man bleeding from the neck.

The man was stabilized and treated at University Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, according to prosecutors, while Johnston was quickly identified as the suspect in the assault and arrested at his home.

According to details of the investigation disclosed at trial, Johnston escalated a verbal confrontation outside Butch Kowal's Tavern in Rahway by pulling a knife on the victim, causing throat and wrist lacerations.

Johnston was identified as the assailant through video surveillance, evidence from the scene, and witness testimony, the prosecutor's office said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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