Ex-BYU football players plead not guilty to charges after Halloween fight
All three former BYU football players involved in a Halloween night brawl at the Provo Rancherito's restaurant pled not guilty to misdemeanor assault charges on Friday in Provo City Justice Court. Safety Joe Sampson and linebacker Zachary Stout have each been charged with two counts of assault for their roles in the melee that erupted in the early morning hours of Nov. 1, 2012 at the 24-hour restaurant, while Matthew Santos, a former walk-on linebacker, has been charged with one count of assault. In December, Alexander Powell Jackman of Provo, who was with the BYU football players that night but has never been a member of the team, pled not guilty to two counts of assault with his father, an attorney, representing him. Sampson and Stout, who were kicked out of school and suspended indefinitely by football coach Bronco Mendenhall in November when surveillance video of the brawl was viewed by BYU officials, have been assigned a public defender to represent them, according to court documents, because the "court finds the defendant(s) indigent ..." A pre-trial conference for both Sampson and Stout is scheduled for Feb. 25 in the courtroom of Judge Vernon F. Romney. Santos is being represented by attorney Paul D. Dodd. His pre-trial conference is set for Feb. 19, also in front of Judge Romney. Jackman's pre-trial conference is also set for Feb. 19.