Trial date set for former Y players


    By Angela Fischer

    The trial for three former-BYU football players charged with rape was rescheduled to August 24 at a pretrial conference Tuesday morning in Provo?s 4th district court.

    Gregory Skordas, defense attorney for Karland Bennett, said the original trial dates, set for June 27 then July 8, were stricken, and the new trial was rescheduled for the new date and will run through September 2.

    The trial had previously been delayed waiting for rulings and pleadings and is now further delayed. Some motion dates have been missed because of the delays, but the final date for attorneys to file motions is July 19.

    The final pretrial was scheduled at the pretrial conference for August 9. This is the last date to let the court know if the case will be resolved out of court or if they will go through with the trial.

    Skordas could not speak on the details of the case due to a gag order imposed several months ago. He could only reveal the dates of scheduled trials determined in the pre-trial conference.

    Craig Mclachlan, from a mitigation firm working for Rhome Zabriskie, defense attorney for Ibrahim Rashada, said this trial is comparable to the Koby Bryant case, in which the defense took over a year and a half to prepare for the trial. He said this case has more discoveries and is more complex than the Koby Bryant case, so the delay allows time for attorneys to prepare witnesses and evidence.

    ?We didn?t want a continuance because it?s a lot to hang over our defendants heads with their future, career and everything on hold,? Mclachlan said. ?We don?t want to wait any longer, and I wouldn?t expect any more trial delays.?

    Jere Reneer, defense attorney for B.J. Mathis, said the judge would be ruling shortly on a motion to dismiss formal charges from the grand jury. He said Judge McVey ruled under seal, and the grand jury record was not released for public scrutiny in this case.

    ?The grand jury had not been used in Utah County for decades and so we could attribute some problems with the grand jury investigation to the fact that no one knew what to do,? Reneer said. ?We certainly think the grand jury was not conducted properly, which should dismiss the indictments. If dismissed, they would have to do a preliminary hearing, further delaying the trial.?

    All three defendants, Bennett, 19; Mathis, 19; and Rashada, 19, are charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony with a penalty of five years to life in prison. They are also charged with dealing harmful material to a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor and obstruction of justice.

    The charges were from an incident last August where the BYU football players allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl after giving her alcohol and showing her a pornographic film.

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