State high court won't hear Mateen Cleaves sex assault case

Mateen Cleaves (Source: Wayne County Prosecutor's Office)

Former Michigan State University basketball star Mateen Cleaves is standing trial on sexual assault charges in his Michigan hometown.

Opening statements began Thursday in Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, where Cleaves is charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment. He's accused of assaulting a 24-year-old woman after a charity golf event and a visit to a Flint-area bar in 2015.

A district judge dismissed the charges in 2016, but a circuit court reinstated them on appeal.

Michigan's Court of Appeals in 2017 denied Cleaves' request to review the decision reinstating the charges. Michigan's Supreme Court declined last year to review that decision.

On Thursday, the prosecution and defense laid out two very different versions of what they say happened.

Lisa Lindsey, a Wayne County prosecutor, told jurors a video will show the alleged victim left the Mundy Township hotel where she said she was assaulted by Cleaves and was yelling for help.

"The evidence is going to show - based on the combination of DNA evidence, the video tape, the witnesses' accounts, and the victim's account of what happened in conjunction with inconsistent statements from the defendant - at the end of the case the evidence will show even if you are drunk in a motel room you can still be sexually assaulted," Lindsey said.

Lindsey argued police failed the alleged victim, adding they favored Cleaves. Lindsey said police did not give Cleaves a breathalyzer after they arrived on the scene and even gave him a ride home.

Defense Attorney Frank Manley told the courtroom the alleged victim wanted to meet Cleaves and willingly went with him to the hotel. Manley said the cry for help in the video was actually just the alleged victim feeling remorseful.

Manley said phone records will prove Cleaves even tried to get in touch with the alleged victim's boyfriend and friend while at the hotel.

Manley said Cleaves is the victim because he was taken advantage of because of his celebrity.

"Listen to the evidence as it comes in, the lack of evidence. At the end of it I'm going to ask you to say not guilty, not guilty, not guilty, not guilty. Use your common sense," Manley said.

Cleaves led Michigan State to the NCAA basketball championship in 2000 and played for four NBA teams.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation)/Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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