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Cowboys rookie CB Jourdan Lewis set to testify in own defense

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis is among the witnesses scheduled to testify in his defense Tuesday morning, when his misdemeanor domestic violence trial continues after jury selection and opening statements concluded Monday.

Lewis was charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence after a March 15 incident that began as an argument and escalated after the alleged victim returned to the couple’s Ann Arbor, Michigan, home and found Lewis sleeping with the light on.

The trial will continue with witnesses in front of Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines, who told jurors that she anticipates the trial will conclude Tuesday.

The police report, obtained earlier this year by ESPN, shows differing accounts of the night.

Assistant Washtenaw County prosecutor Lou Danner started his opening statement by saying, “He knew what he was doing. He knew what he was doing was wrong. Yet he did it anyway. Those three things are what the case is all about.”

Meanwhile, Lewis’ lawyer, John Shea, said, “This is not a case about domestic violence. This is a case more about the opposite, actually. What Jourdan Lewis was doing this night was trying to remove himself from an argument so as to prevent further escalation of it, and in his attempts to remove himself from this argument, he was and [the alleged victim] prevented him from doing so peacefully.”

The woman, who was Lewis’ girlfriend at the time, reportedly told police that Lewis grabbed her by the neck and held her to the floor for roughly three seconds before leaving the apartment they shared.

Danner said the incident started as a “long-standing argument” about how bills would be paid and overall finances. Danner said that when Lewis and the alleged victim were short on bills, the woman’s mother assisted.

Danner said evidence will show that Lewis struck the alleged victim with a pillow in the face with “a significant amount of force” after the woman asked for an apology.

Shea countered in his opening statement that Lewis “threw” pillows at the alleged victim instead of striking her with them with force, as the woman maintained.

Multiple times during Danner’s opening statement, he said that the alleged victim asked for apologies for the argument and for allegedly striking her with pillows. Then, Danner alleged that Lewis picked up the woman and dragged her across the room.

Danner said Lewis did not deny these allegations. Danner said that after the two struggled and argued, Lewis went into a closet to grab clothing. They continued to argue. While this was happening, Danner said the alleged victim told Lewis, “Be a man. Just be a man. Fess up to what you did. Be accountable for it. Be a man.” Danner then said Lewis got angry and “called her a b----.” She responded to Lewis to say it to her face, which Danner said Lewis then did.

Danner said the alleged victim’s mother will testify that her daughter called her during the argument and told her that Lewis was hitting her. Eventually, the call dropped. Then, she called her daughter over and over, and she didn’t pick up. Danner said that eventually the alleged victim’s mother spoke with Lewis.

Danner also plans on playing an audio recording of the 911 call from the alleged victim to the police. Shea said Lewis spoke with the woman’s mother after the incident.

Shea argued in his opening statement that there is no corroboration for her allegations of aggression and that “there were no injuries” or cuts, scrapes or bruises. Shea also said the victim declined medical attention. Shea said the alleged victim didn’t call 911 until after Lewis left, but she did call her mother and told Lewis to stay. Shea alleges that Lewis was on the phone with the woman’s mother when the police called, and he called police back after, met with them and answered questions honestly, including admitting to throwing pillows at her.

Shea said Lewis will explain his version of events and that the woman impeded him from leaving the apartment to diffuse the argument. The woman is also expected to testify to her version of events Tuesday.

Lewis will be judged by a panel of five women and two men. Six of the seven jurors on the panel will decide the verdict, with one juror not included in the final deliberations but treated as an alternate for emergency reasons. The verdict must be unanimous.

While the trial was going on in Michigan, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in Oxnard, California, where the Cowboys hold training camp, that he has not spoken with Lewis recently, but others in the organization have. He was not sure when Lewis would report to camp. Even with practices put on each player’s iPad, which could allow Lewis to stay up to speed, and other technology available, Garrett doesn’t want Lewis to think about football.

“He needs to take care of that,” Garrett said.

Dallas drafted Lewis in the third round out of Michigan.

Dallas Cowboys reporter Todd Archer contributed to this report from Oxnard, California.