A former Utah State University football player accused of sexually assaulting seven women is trying to get his jury trial moved out of Cache County, arguing the community is too small and media coverage too extensive for him to receive a fair trial.
Skye Lazaro, the attorney for former USU linebacker Torrey Green, also argues that six of the seven sexual assault cases being brought against him are so similar they should be combined, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Utah’s 1st District Court.
Green, 24, is charged with 12 felonies — including kidnapping and rape — in seven cases, after seven women came forward saying he sexually assaulted them while he was a student in Logan between 2013 and 2015.
In September, Judge Brian Cannell ruled the women in six of the seven cases could testify in each other’s trials because of similarities in their alleged assaults, including how Green and the women met, and when and where they were allegedly assaulted.
Lazaro argued Tuesday that if the cases are similar enough for the earlier ruling, the six cases should be merged to avoid “redundancy,” according to court documents.
In a motion filed the same day, Lazaro said it’s unlikely Green would get a fair trial were the case tried in Logan.
“Little elaboration is needed to understand that seven different female victims, allegedly the victim of rape and sexual assault by an African American college football player, would likely hold benevolent standing in the community,” she wrote.
Lazaro also said Green’s prosecution had received a “massive amount” of media attention, which she characterized as “extensive, pervasive and generally directed negatively at Mr. Green.”
Those factors, including the “close-knit nature” of the community of Logan, she said, argue for moving the case to another location where Green would be more likely to receive an impartial jury trial.
Because of the motion, a trial in one of Green’s cases scheduled to begin March 19 was canceled, according to court records.
Prosecutors have three weeks to respond to Lazaro’s motions. Cannell set a new court date for March 29 for oral arguments.
Four of the women involved in the cases against Green came forward publicly in a The Salt Lake Tribune story, published July 2016 shortly after Green signed a contract to play football in the NFL.
The women had reported their alleged assaults to police previously, and no charges were filed. The Tribune’s story prompted Cache County prosecutors to re-examine the allegations against Green. Since then, more victims have come forward.
USU, where an internal investigation found “fell short” in how it handled assault reports related to Green, is again being scrutinized after several former students came forward recently with allegations of systemic sexual violence and harassment within the school’s music program.
USU President Noelle E. Crockett told students and faculty that school officials are investigating the allegations and whether school officials acted appropriately in 2009, when a former student alleges she was raped by a piano faculty instructor.
The school is also under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for several high-profile sexual prosecutions, including Green’s case and others involving two fraternity members.
Green, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is being held without bond in Cache County jail.