Late-arriving evidence led a judge on Monday morning to delay the start of the sexual assault trial for University of Wisconsin receiver Quintez Cephus.
Dane County Circuit Judge William Hanrahan postponed the trial at the request of Cephus’s attorneys after the alleged victims’ cellphone records, sought by the attorneys, were first made available to them Monday morning by Hanrahan.
“There’s a lot of information there and we’ve got to go through them to see if we can find anything useful,” attorney Stephen Meyer said.
The trial, which was supposed to begin Monday afternoon following jury selection Monday morning, has not been rescheduled.
Cephus, 20, of Macon, Georgia, was charged in August with second- and third-degree sexual assault after police say two women told them Cephus had sex with them at his apartment in April even though they were too intoxicated to consent to sex. He was suspended from the football team under the UW Student-Athlete Discipline Policy.
According to a criminal complaint, one of the women was described to police by the other woman as so drunk that she looked “possessed.”
Cephus told police that the sexual contact was consensual.
Meyer has told the court that text messages and social media postings from the cellphones of the women could back Cephus’s claim and exonerate him.
At a hearing last month, Hanrahan cited the victims’ right to privacy when he denied Meyer’s request for a forensic download of the content of the women’s cellphones from the day before the alleged incident to two days after. But Hanrahan allowed Meyer to the search to the detailed billing records of the cellphones, including calls and text messages.
Hanrahan had the phone records sent to his office so he could inspect them before deciding whether to forward them to the attorneys. Meyer said they arrived at Hanrahan’s office by FedEx late Friday afternoon but Hanrahan was at a conference so he could not inspect them until sometime over the weekend.
As he received the records Monday, Meyer said Hanrahan told him that he should consider delaying the trial so he could properly analyze them.
Meyer agreed after seeing the number of pages of records. He said he’s hoping to find information that will convince Hanrahan to order the forensic download of the phones’ contents.
“That’s back on the table now,” Meyer said.