A grand jury will begin hearing evidence Wednesday in the second-degree battery case against two suspended LSU football players, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Monday.
Moore said he has received most of what he needs from the Baton Rouge Police Department and has spoken with many witnesses and the four people injured in the Aug. 19 fight outside Shady’s bar on East Boyd Drive.
Results of DNA taken from suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson and suspended linebacker Joshua Johns are inconclusive, Moore added. There were no matches to the victims, he said.
Jefferson and Johns were booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Aug. 26 on one count each of second-degree battery for their alleged involvement in the brawl.
Police searched Jefferson’s and Johns’ homes last month, taking shoes as well as taking DNA samples from both men.
The football players told police they were not involved in the altercation, according to affidavits of probable cause for the search warrants of the players’ homes.
The affidavits say Jefferson and Johns, both 21, told police they were at the bar that night but denied involvement in the fight.
Andrew Lowery, one of the people injured in the fight, told officers that Jefferson and Johns were among a group of people who attacked him.
Lowery suffered a fractured jaw and was kicked unconscious, his attorney, Michael P. Bienvenu, has said.
Another man injured in the fight suffered three fractured vertebrae, police have said. The man’s name has not been released.
Moore’s announcement to convene a grand jury came on the heels of a motion Jefferson’s attorney, Lewis Unglesby, filed Friday in state district court to expedite the legal process and clear the football player of the second-degree battery count.
Unglesby asked in the motion that a judge determine whether there is probable cause to charge his client in the fight.
“Jordan deserves to have this cloud lifted immediately,” Unglesby said Friday. “He didn’t do it. It’s obvious from all the witnesses that he didn’t do it.”
Bienvenu fired back, saying Unglesby’s motion “contains fundamental sets of serious factual errors” and is “nothing more than an admission that Mr. Jefferson is totally unaware of the evidence” authorities have gathered in the case.
Contrary to the motion, Bienvenu said, the arrests of Jefferson and Johns were not based on one eyewitness, but at least four eyewitnesses.
“I have interviewed several of these eyewitnesses myself,” Bienvenu said. “Mr. Jefferson’s counsel knows about the existence of these eyewitnesses; he has been informed of their testimony.”
Bienvenu also said Unglesby’s motion falsely accuses his clients of making racial slurs prior to the fight.
The allegations are “patently false,” “have no relevance,” and “are just another meaningless attempt to character-assassinate the victims in this case.”
Three of his clients, all of whom are white, were with minorities the night of the fight, Bienvenu said, and two of the people who came to the aid of one of his clients after he was beaten were black women.
In addition, none of the witnesses, including Jefferson and Johns, who were interviewed about the incident said anything about racial slurs until Wednesday, Bienvenu said.
“It was not until last week, when Mr. Jefferson apparently convinced several LSU players to provide statements on his behalf that, quite curiously, this allegation of racial slurs first arose,” Bienvenu said.
The 18 players who came forward did so weeks after police asked them to provide statements that might exonerate Jefferson, Bienvenu added.
Unglesby’s motion says 25 people, some of whom are football players, have spoken to Baton Rouge police and the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office and all have said Jefferson did not kick anyone that night.
The motion also says police have “provided no evidence … as to why these 25 witnesses have been ignored or disregarded.”
“They took the word of a couple of people who are inaccurate at best and then filed the charges,” Unglesby said Friday.
Unglesby was not available on Monday for additional comment. A hearing for his motion has been scheduled Oct. 20.
Tommy Damico, Johns’ attorney, said Monday he is very pleased a grand jury will soon hear evidence in the case against his client.
“I’m pleased the District Attorney’s Office is moving forward with pretty deliberate speed,” he said.