BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman at a Barcelona nightclub, testifying Wednesday that he is “not that kind of man.”
After two days of listening to testimony from the alleged victim, witnesses and experts, Alves told a Spanish court that their meeting had been consensual. Her accuser testified that Alves raped her in the bathroom of an upscale nightclub in the early morning hours of December 31, 2022.
“I’m not that kind of man; “I am not a violent man,” Alves said in response to her defense attorney asking if he had forced her to have sex.
The alleged victim told state prosecutors that she danced with Alves and voluntarily entered the bathroom, but then when she wanted to leave he wouldn’t let her. She said he slapped her, insulted her and forced her to have sex against her will.
Alves denied it.
“She never told me to stop. We were both enjoying it,” Alves said, while she repeated that the woman never asked out or gave any indication that she did not want to have sex with him. He also denied slapping her or insulting her.
State prosecutors are seeking a nine-year prison sentence for Alves if convicted, while lawyers representing his accuser are asking for 12 years. His defense asked for acquittal or, if found guilty, a sentence of one year plus compensation of 50,000 euros ($54,000) for the victim.
The three-day trial concluded Wednesday. It usually takes weeks to issue a verdict.
Alves, 40, was escorted in handcuffs to the small courtroom wearing a long-sleeved white sweater, dark pants and glasses. His mother was present outside, as she has been throughout the trial. His wife was barely there Tuesday when she testified that he had come home “smelling of alcohol” after the alleged assault.
His accuser testified Monday behind closed doors by court order. State prosecutors asked the court to take additional steps to protect her identity after a video purportedly identifying the woman circulated on social media last month.
A friend and cousin of the alleged victim who went dancing with her that night told the three-judge panel Monday that after she left the bathroom she was distraught and told them Alves “seriously hurt her.”
Police officers who treated the alleged victim testified that she was very shaken and told them that she had been sexually assaulted by Alves. Agents said Tuesday that she had to overcome her fears that “no one would believe her” before formally charging Alves. An officer said the woman told him, “I don’t want money, I want justice.”
Alves’ friend who was with him at the nightclub testified that Alves and the woman showed “chemistry” before going to the bathroom and that he had not noticed anything wrong with the woman afterward. The friend added that the footballer drank wine and whiskey before going to the club.
Alves’ defense asked the court that his state of intoxication be considered a mitigating factor for a reduced sentence if he is found guilty.
A forensic psychologist who examined the woman declared Wednesday that she was suffering from “post-traumatic” symptoms, a conclusion that was questioned by an outside expert called by the defense.
The state prosecutor concluded her arguments by saying that “we understand that (the accuser’s) version is completely credible.”
This is the first trial for high-profile sex crimes since Spain revised its legislation in 2022 to make consent, or lack thereof, central to defining a sex crime in response to a wave of protests after a case of gang rape during the San Fermín bull. -festival in Pamplona in 2016. The legislation popularly known as the “only yes means yes” law defines consent as an explicit expression of a person’s will, making it clear that silence or passivity does not equal consent.
Alves’ defense attorney, Inés Guardiola, based her closing argument on video evidence from the nightclub’s security cameras, which she said showed the woman dancing “with sexualized movements” that “showed her interest” before the alleged incident. assault.
Ester García, the woman’s lawyer, said in her closing argument that the new law made her client’s lack of consent once inside the bathroom key to the case, in addition to making it irrelevant how her client could have danced with Alves. beforehand.
“I don’t care (how he danced), when he said ‘no,’ that meant ‘no.’ That’s why the law was changed,” García said. “The debate is no longer whether the victim resisted.”
Alves has been in pretrial detention since he was arrested on January 20, 2023. His bail applications were denied because the court deemed him to be a flight risk. Brazil does not extradite its own citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.
He modified his defense during the investigation phase while in custody, first denying any sexual contact with her before admitting sexual relations which he said were consensual. He said he had been trying to save her marriage by not admitting to the encounter initially.
Before the trial, Alves was ordered to set aside 150,000 euros ($162,000) if he is found guilty and ordered to pay compensation.
Alves won dozens of titles with elite clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped Brazil win two Copa Americas and an Olympic gold medal at age 38. He played in his third World Cup, the only major title he did not win, in 2022. He played for Barcelona from 2008 to 2016 and briefly rejoined the club in 2022. He still has residence near the city.
The Mexican club Pumas terminated his contract immediately after his arrest.
AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer