Attorney: Cleaves appealing reinstatement of rape case

The Detroit News

An attorney for Mateen Cleaves said Tuesday he is appealing a judge’s decision last month to reinstate rape charges against the former Michigan State basketball star.

In a statement, Frank Manley said Judge Archie Hayman of Genesee County Circuit Court ignored questions about the credibility of Cleaves’ accuser when he overturned a lower court ruling that had dismissed the charges against Cleaves.

In her December ruling, Flint District Judge Cathy Dowd had said there was a lack of evidence to try Cleaves, 39, who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he had met hours before at a charity golf outing in September 2015.

“ ... as stated by Judge M. Cathy Dowd, the facts and witnesses’ testimonies show there was no assault,” Manley said in a statement. “For Genesee County to pay an out-of-county prosecutor to try a case against an innocent person is a waste of the County’s monies and resources and a financial drain on the entire county.”

Manley said Cleaves’ legal team is asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to overturn Hayman’s ruling.

In making his decision April 10, Hayman cited the woman’s testimony during a preliminary exam that Cleaves had pulled her into a Mundy Township motel room and sexually assaulted her. Hayman said Dowd gave no analysis of the case and did a “disservice to both the victim and Mr. Cleaves.”

Cleaves is 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 charges carry up to 15 years in prison.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the case after the Genesee County prosecutor recused himself due to a possible conflict of interest.

“We agree with the court’s ruling reinstating the charges against Mateen Cleaves,” assistant Wayne County prosecutor Maria Miller said in an email. “If leave is granted by the Michigan Court of Appeals we will respond at the appropriate time in court.”

Manley said evidence presented during the case shows the alleged assault could not have happened as described by the woman.

“We’ve won this case once, and if the Appellate Courts order us to go to trial, we will win it again,” he said. “The facts remain the same. Mr. Cleaves is innocent.”