STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A judge ruled Wednesday to keep the upcoming trial of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl in the eastern Ohio county where the attack allegedly happened, rejecting requests by the defendants’ attorneys who wanted the trial moved.
Prosecutors had opposed the request by the defendants’ lawyers, who said some potential witnesses had been threatened and could face intimidation or harassment outside the local courthouse.
Judge Thomas Lipps also said the nonjury trial should be open to the public and media. He set the trial date for March 13.
Adam Nemann, an attorney for defendant Trent Mays, argued Friday the case should be moved to a county with a bigger courthouse where crowds of protesters potentially trying to intimidate witnesses favorable to the accused could be better controlled.
“My big concern is that witnesses aren’t going to come in walking past hundreds of people wearing masks,” Nemann said.
Brian Deckert, a special prosecutor from the Ohio attorney general’s office, responded that witnesses could be compelled to testify by subpoena and would have to testify truthfully because of perjury laws.
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