Auston Robertson arraigned, held on $250,000 bond

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Auston Robertson is shown during his video arraignment on Tuesday.

Mason, Mich. – Former Michigan State football player Auston Robertson was arraigned in 55th District Court on Tuesday and was held on $250,000 cash bond on charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The 19-year-old native of Ft. Wayne, Ind., was extradited back to Michigan on Tuesday morning and appeared before Magistrate Mark Blumer in the afternoon.

Robertson did not enter a plea, but his attorney, David Rosenberg, said work on the case has already begun.

“I haven’t seen the discovery, I haven’t seen the police reports,” he said. “I don’t know the complete nature of the charges against Auston. We have investigators out talking to witnesses and we’re gonna build our defense.”

The charges against Robertson stem from an April 9 incident in which Robertson is accused of assaulting a women in her apartment.

Blumer originally set bond at $75,000 when charges were authorized on Friday but bumped that up to $250,000 on Tuesday because he considered Robertson a flight risk. Meridian Township Police detectives said they spoke with Robertson several days after the incident and that he then returned to Indiana.

It led to the Meridian Police posting on their website that Robertson was a fugitive and the public was asked for help in locating him. By Saturday afternoon, a task force that was led by the U.S. Marshal’s office detained Robertson at his mother’s house in Fort Wayne.

He was booked and then extradited on Tuesday.

During Tuesday’s arraignment, Rosenberg argued that his client was not a flight risk.

“We’ve been working with the police agencies for about five or six days, at least, to make arrangements for young Auston to come in voluntarily,” Rosenberg said. “I think the magistrate recognizes that. I also think he recognizes that this kid comes from a good family and if they’re willing to post $25,000 bond he’s not a flight risk.

“With all due respect to the magistrate, I’m not sure (Robertson) left when the people told him not to. He went home, but that’s neither here nor there. The judge set bond and I think under the circumstances it’s relatively fair. We’re gonna do our best to mount a strong defense.”

If Robertson is able to post the 10-percent cash bond, he will be forced to wear a tether and can’t leave the state without permission from the judge. A protection order also was entered, meaning Robertson can have no contact with the alleged victim.

Rosenberg added he was concerned for his client, not only on where he would live when bond is posted but that campus housing would not be appropriate because has received threats from other students.

“I’ve been given to understand there are fellow students that have threatened him and that would be a reason I don’t want him going back to the dorm situation,” Rosenberg said. “I can’t tell you the source, it’s not proper. But I think it’s prudent for him to find other housing and I think the magistrate recognized that too. It’s unfortunate he can’t go back to mom’s.”

A Michigan State spokesman said on Tuesday that Robertson is still enrolled.

Robertson is scheduled for a pre-exam conference before Judge Thomas Boyd on May 4 at 8:30 a.m. followed by a preliminary examination at 9:30 a.m. on May 11.

Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio announced on Friday afternoon that Robertson, a defensive end who played in seven games in 2016, was dismissed from the team.

“The criminal sexual conduct charges announced against Auston Robertson are of the most serious nature,” Dantonio said in a statement announcing the dismissal. “Sexual assault has no place in our community. While there is an ongoing criminal process, we’re extremely disappointed that Auston put himself in this position. He is no longer a member of our football program.”

Twitter @mattcharboneau