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Former University of Minnesota football player Dominic Jones

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Cell phone video OK'd for Jones rape trial

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON
  • Star Tribune
  • February 29, 2008 - 10:56 PM

The cell phone video is in, but a Hennepin County District Court judge will decide later whether to allow testimony about the other men an 18-year-old woman had sex with on the night she allegedly was sexually assaulted by a former University of Minnesota football star.

The trial for former Gopher defensive back Dominic Jones is scheduled to start March 31. On Friday, District Court Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum said she will allow a cell phone recording into evidence, along with photos taken from video that purportedly shows Jones assaulting the drunken woman.

Defense attorney Earl Gray had argued the photos would be prejudicial, but said he expected the ruling. He said Rosenbaum's ruling to allow testimony from the state's expert witness was more significant. "They have gone out and found an expert to rubber-stamp all their allegations," he said, adding that he now has to get an expert to rebut them.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Gray's comment about the expert "is so lacking in fact that it's not worth a response."

Rosenbaum also denied Gray's request to have the U.S. Secret Service look into whether another video exists on the cell phone of former Gopher Keith Massey.

Jones was charged in July with third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a woman who allegedly was too drunk to give consent.

According to the complaint, the woman drank eight shots of vodka and had sex with three Gopher players on April 3, before Jones arrived and assaulted her. Another player recorded the act on his cell phone. Police also identified Jones through DNA.

Gray said he believes the sex with the other men is admissible. Freeman said prior sex acts are not relevant or admissible in a trial.

Both sides will submit legal briefs on that issue.

Freeman said the defense attorney has a "calculated strategy to tarnish the reputation of the victim."

Gray has dropped a request to exclude a statement Jones made to two police officers on April 24 at the U's Bierman Athletic Building. He now wants to exclude only parts of the statement. He declined to explain why.

"I'm not going to reveal my theory of the case to the media," Gray said.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorneys Martha Holton Dimick and Marlene Senechal are asking the court for separated guilt and sentencing phases in the trial.

They said they want to put on evidence about aggravating factors if Jones is convicted.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

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