Ex-Michigan State University basketball star Mateen Cleaves acquitted in sexual assault
FLINT (AP) — A jury acquitted former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves on Tuesday of allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in a motel room four years ago.
The verdict announced in a Genesee County courtroom in Cleaves’ hometown of Flint came after a nearly-two week trial that included the testimony of the Mount Morris woman, who told jurors that she had wanted to leave the motel room but Cleaves continued to force himself on her.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for a little more than two hours before delivering its verdict. Cleaves sobbed after the last of four not-guilty verdicts was read.
“Thank you for giving me my life back,” Cleaves said.
Juror Michael Lambert said the verdict came quickly after he and other jurors concluded Cleaves’ accuser wasn’t believable.
Evidence against Cleaves, 41, included a video that prosecutors contended showed the woman pulling away from Cleaves. Prosecutors argued she tried twice to escape from the motel room.
Cleaves is a revered figure in Michigan, an integral part of a Michigan State team that won the national championship in 2000 before his six-year NBA career.
And on Tuesday, sitting in a courtroom was another reminder of that team: Spartans head coach Tom Izzo.