Witness noted at hearing for Vikings' Cook

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune Staff Writers
  • Updated: October 26, 2011 - 11:55 PM

A brief court proceeding Wednesday afternoon revealed that a roommate of suspended Minnesota Viking Chris Cook was in their Eden Prairie townhouse during the player's alleged jealousy-fueled assault of his girlfriend and is considered to be a witness in the case.

Cook, 24, did not enter a plea to the felony domestic assault charge during the 16-minute hearing in Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis but quietly answered "yes sir" and "no sir" when Judge Robert Small asked him nearly a dozen questions.

The Vikings suspended the top draft choice without pay Tuesday after he was charged with trying to choke the unidentified woman early Saturday morning because she talked to a former boyfriend.

On Wednesday, head coach Leslie Frazier said that he spoke to Cook on the day he was charged, but he said he prefers to "keep that conversation private."

The second-year pro's suspension without pay, the coach added, "really speaks to where our organization is and how disappointed we are by the events and how disturbed we are with the events as well."

At the hearing, the judge also revised some restrictions connected to the $40,000 bail Cook has posted. He is now allowed to have contact with his roommate, Will Grishaw, identified as a witness in the case. No details about what Grishaw might have seen or heard came up during the hearing.

Small also said that Cook can also travel to his permanent home in Virginia but still must not have any contact of any kind with his accuser, who also lives there.

After several minutes of back and forth involving the judge and the lawyers, Small asked, "Mr. Cook, do you understand what's going on here? We've been chit-chatting."

Cook said he did.

Outside of court, Cook declined to answer reporters' questions before he left in a black Mercedes. "He's not talking," said defense attorney David Valentini.

Valentini said he can't say what kind of defense he will mount because "we've not seen any discovery or evidence yet." The next hearing in the case is Nov. 22.

He declined to directly criticize County Attorney Mike Freeman, who held a news conference Tuesday to say that Cook is being treated no differently than any other defendant in an assault case.

"I don't see any other [assault] cases where a press conference was held like this," Valentini said, adding, "I understand it's a high-profile case."

Star Tribune staff writer Dan Wiederer contributed to this report.

pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

vonste@startribune.com • 612-673-7184

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