Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jefferson's lawyers: Alleged victims started fight

A motion filed by attorneys for suspended LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson contends several alleged victims in a bar brawl involving Tigers players incited the melee with a racial slur and that Jefferson's only role in the fight was to pull teammates away.

The motion, filed Friday afternoon, asks a judge to rule police had insufficient evidence to arrest Jefferson for second-degree battery last month. It also says the injuries to Andrew Lowery, who accuses Jefferson of kicking him in the face, were not serious enough to warrant a felony arrest.

Defense attorney Lewis Unglesby said 25 witnesses - including several LSU football players - have provided statements for the motion.

Another man involved in the fight had three fractured vertebrae, but no one has been arrested for his injuries.

Unglesby said he filed the motion in hopes of salvaging what is left of Jefferson's senior season. Jefferson, who before the season was a projected starter, has so far missed three games, all victories, for third-ranked LSU.

"Jordan is paying a great price by losing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity every week that he can't ever recapture, no matter what a judge later decides, and that's not fair," Unglesby said.

Dane Ciolino, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, said Unglesby's request is "highly unusual" and seems more like a public relations ploy than a legal maneuver.

"There is no way to get a pretrial, much less pre-charge, dismissal based on inadequacy of evidence under Louisiana law," he said.

Michael Bienvenu, a lawyer representing Lowery and the three other alleged victims whose names have not been released, has said Lowery's injuries included a fractured bone in his upper jaw, called the maxilla, along with fractured teeth and a concussion. Unglesby's motion notes that Lowery returned to his job at a downtown Baton Rouge bar within 48 hours of the fight.

Bienvenu also represents three other alleged victims, including the man with three fractured vertebrae. Bienvenu has said that man had been knocked unconscious and concussed, and also had fractured teeth.

Bienvenu has said the man was pulled from his pickup truck. By contrast, Unglesby's motion said witnesses saw the driver of the truck open his door and curse people blocking his way, and that either he or two other people in his truck used a racial epithet moments before the fight started.

The motion also contends that Lowery, who was in the parking lot but not with the three men in the truck, started a nearby fight with an LSU player in the crowd surrounding the truck. The motion did not name the LSU player.

Bienvenu did not return a phone message on Friday seeking comment on Unglesby's latest motion. Police declined to comment, as did East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hiller Moore, who has not yet decided whether to prosecute the case.

Unglesby said many of the witnesses in his motion have given sworn statements, but he is not releasing their names at this time.

The fight occurred Aug. 19 at a bar called Shady's near LSU's campus. Police later searched Jefferson's apartment, seizing shoes that they have said they are testing for DNA evidence.

Reserve linebacker Josh Johns also has been booked with second-degree battery in connection with Lowery's injuries. He and Jefferson both turned themselves in on Aug. 26, after which LSU head coach Les Miles suspended them indefinitely.

By Brett Martel, AP Sports Writer

Source: Houston Chronicle

1 comment:

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