Testimony wraps up in Mateen Cleaves rape trial

Testimony wrapped up Friday in the rape trial of former Michigan State University basketball star Mateen Cleaves.

Closing arguments are scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Genesee County Circuit Court and the jury is expected to begin its deliberations shortly afterward.

This undated photo released by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in Michigan, shows a booking photo of Mateen Cleaves. The former Michigan State basketball star has been arraigned on sexual assault charges.

The trial comes nearly four years after a Mount Morris woman in her mid-20s said Cleaves raped her in a Flint-area motel in September 2015. Cleaves and the woman allegedly met hours before at a golf outing.

The alleged victim and her boyfriend were among those who took the stand during the trial, which began Aug. 8. Another guest at the motel where the alleged rape took place also was among those who testified, as did a police officer who showed up at the Knights Inn in Mundy Township on a run of "trouble." 

Cleaves, 41, 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. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Cleaves denied the rape allegations in a March 2016 tweet that read: “My family and I are devastated by these false charges. I am innocent and the allegations are without merit.”

During his opening statements, Cleaves' defense attorney Frank Manley said the sex between the woman and Cleaves was consensual, saying, "Regret is not rape" and that  "Consensual sex activity between two adults is not a crime."

Manley said the woman was in the motel room with Cleaves  "of her own free will" and engaged in kissing with Cleaves.

"By the time the truth comes out, the truth will set my client free," Manley told jurors and Judge Celeste Bell. "These are adults. She never suggested she said no. Consent is consent is consent."

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey disagreed.

Lindsey told the jury of 10 women and four men that the woman told Cleaves she wanted to leave but he forced himself on her.

"She rode voluntarily with him but she didn't want to be in the motel with him," she told jurors. "She escaped two times (from the motel room)."

Lindsey said Cleaves "had complete control of what happened in that room." The prosecutor said the woman ran out of the motel room and ran into another motel guest who witnessed Cleaves pulling the alleged victim back inside.

The Detroit News does not typically identify those who say they have been sexually assaulted.


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