Judge Mulls Whether To Dismiss Charges Against Soccer Star Hope Solo
A municipal court judge in Kirkland, Washington, is mulling whether to dismiss domestic violence charges against U.S. soccer star Hope Solo.
Solo's attorney and the city prosecutor argued in court Tuesday about whether and how the misdemeanor case should proceed. The hour-long hearing centered on a defense motion to dismiss.
Hope Solo is the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. women's national team and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. The misdemeanor assault charges she faces stem from when Solo was arrested by Kirkland police in June at her half-sister’s house.
Police had been called to the suburban Seattle residence in response to a 911 call of a female who was “going crazy and hitting people.” Solo was subsequently charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence assault. The alleged victims were Solo's 17-year-old nephew and her older half-sister.
Solo’s attorney Todd Maybrown claims Solo was actually the victim in the incident and was defending herself at the time.
Maybrown said in court the alleged victims refused to answer relevant questions and were “changing their stories” during a deposition with him on Dec. 19.
“I agree dismissal is an extraordinary remedy,” Maybrown told Kirkland Municipal Court Judge Michael Lambo. “But when they’ve destroyed and hidden evidence…the only remedy would be dismissal.”
City of Kirkland Deputy Prosecutor Lacey Offutt said court rules do not provide for dismissal based on witnesses’ behavior, but “just on prosecutorial misconduct," which is not alleged.
“The extraordinary remedy is not one that is appropriate here,” Offutt said. She said the issues Solo’s defense raised belong “in front of a jury."
Solo did not speak at the hearing.
Lambo declined to rule from the bench on the motion for dismissal and instead ordered a second deposition of the alleged victims Jan. 2.
“The interview should be unfettered,” Lambo said. He also ordered the prosecutors to turn over some notes to the defense from earlier meetings with Solo's accusers.
Solo has adamantly maintained her innocence and the U.S. Soccer Federation has been content to let the legal process run its course before weighing in. If Solo is convicted of anything, though, she could be suspended -- and that right as the U.S. national team goes into action in the 2015 Women's World Cup, happening right across the border in Canada.
Solo is currently scheduled to stand trial starting January 20.
Solo also plays in goal for the Seattle Reign women's professional team. Earlier in her playing career, the now 33-year-old was a standout on the Washington Husky and Richland High School soccer squads.