By Elisha Anderson, Originally published by Detroit Press, June 28, 2016
Flint, MI–The attorney representing Mateen Cleaves wants the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office disqualified from the sexual assault case against the former basketball star.
Cleaves’ attorney, Frank Manley, filed court documents Monday on the eve of a hearing scheduled in Flint that would determine if the case proceeds to trial. In one document, the defense alleges that the 24-year-old woman Cleaves is accused of sexually assaulting in September once served as a member of a child sexual abuse task force in Wayne County.
Cleaves’ case was transferred to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office after the Genesee County prosecutor requested the move because of a possible conflict of interest with a potential witness in the case, officials said.
Genesee County Special Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey said in 67th District Court today that she felt “blindsided” by the new filings.
Prosecutors received the documents this morning and Judge M. Cathy Dowd gave them time to respond to the two newly filed motions, so the preliminary examination didn’t take place.
Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Maria Miller said in an email that “the prosecution will respond in court to the motions filed by the defense.”
Prosecutors have said Cleaves, 38, of Grand Blanc met the woman at a golf outing in September, had drinks with her, then took her to a motel, where she was allegedly kept against her will.
The defense and prosecution repeatedly sparred about the case during the 50-minute hearing covered by a half-dozen videographers, three photographers and several reporters.
“I’m not going to have you playing to the press,” Dowd told the attorneys.
Cleaves, who faces multiple felonies, maintains his innocence in the case. Several of his supporters were in the courtroom today, and he hugged them when the hearing wrapped.
Cleaves didn’t speak to reporters and stood next to his wife outside the courtroom as his attorney answered questions from the media.
Manley said his focus is “fundamental fairness” and said he received information that the complainant in the case was involved in a task force in Wayne County.
“That, on its face, leads one to wonder if they’re the proper entity to go forth in this case,” Manley said.
It is unclear who oversees the task force that was mentioned on a LinkedIn page and what the alleged victim’s role was.
Manley also wants the alleged victim to undergo a competency evaluation and said he will seek psychiatric records.
Cleaves, who led the Michigan State Spartans in 2000 to the NCAA championship, has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The counts are punishable by up to 10-15 years in prison.
The next court date to take up the motions is scheduled for July 29 in Flint.
Read full article article with video of Attorney Manley addressing the media here.