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Cowboys rookie CB Jourdan Lewis found not guilty in pillow-related domestic violence case

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis was found not guilty of one count of misdemeanor domestic violence and assault and battery, stemming from an argument with his then-girlfriend over finances.

The six-member jury deliberated for just more than 90 minutes before reaching a verdict early Tuesday evening in the day-and-a-half trial. The case centered around Lewis throwing pillows at his accuser that struck her in the face and whether any malicious contact occurred following the pillow throws, or if Lewis was trying to leave the apartment to deescalate a fight.

The incident began over a light that was left on while Lewis was sleeping; upon returning home around 12:30 a.m. on March 15, 2017, Lewis' then-girlfriend woke him up after seeing the light on. That led to an argument about finances that escalated.

After hearing the unanimous verdict, Lewis stood for a few moments with his attorney, John Shea, before going into the back rows of the courtroom in Michigan's 15th District Court to hug family members and friends.

"I'm elated, of course," Lewis said while leaving the courtroom.

Lewis, a third-round pick out of Michigan, had been adamant about going to trial in an attempt to clear his name since being charged with the crime in March.

Lewis did not testify in his own defense. Shea called no witnesses and rested after Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Lou Danner III rested his case. Danner called the accuser, the accuser's mother and two police officers to testify.

"Obviously, you're always grateful for the verdicts that go your way," Shea said while leaving the courtroom. "I believed in this case and so we're grateful it went our way. Not much more you can say beyond that."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also was pleased with the decision.

"First of all, I'm proud for Jourdan, I'm proud for our Cowboys, I'm proud for our guys who were involved in his evaluation and selection," Jones said. "He has great character references when he came from school. For him, before a jury, to have this exoneration -- and it's truly that -- I hope everyone will recognize that's a real, real plus. He just didn't want there to be any question about that. I'm real proud for the Cowboys and proud for him. He's got a chance to really be a fine player and he is a good person."

The accuser testified for over an hour-and-a-half; she became visibly emotional three times, including when the 911 call she made was played in court. After hearing the call, she explained what she was feeling at the time.

"I was sad. I was scared. I was mad that I had to because I didn't want to," the accuser said. "I really didn't want to, but it got to the point where I didn't feel like I had any other choice.

"I didn't want to see him in trouble or anything, but I just couldn't allow stuff like this to happen. I didn't know what else to do."

Lewis sat mostly emotionless during his former girlfriend's testimony, often staring straight ahead or rubbing his chin with his hand. Occasionally he would confer with his attorney.

In her testimony, the accuser said she was forcefully hit with a pillow three times and that the pillow wasn't thrown, but "mush" onto her face.

In the police car video from the night of the incident, Lewis admitted to throwing pillows at her but said there was no intent to hurt her. He said that once the argument started to escalate, he was just trying to leave the apartment.

During his interview with police, Lewis admitted to throwing pillows "out of frustration" after the accuser "badgered him" for 15 minutes about the light being left on. The accuser sought an apology for the light being left on when Lewis fell asleep, which started the argument.

Lewis said the pillows hit the accuser "hard" and admitted he might have grabbed her throat, but was doing so in an attempt to leave the apartment.

The accuser's mother, a witness called by the prosecution, testified that in a short phone call with her daughter during the incident she heard Lewis in the background yelling that he was trying to leave. The accuser also told her mother during the call that Lewis was hitting her.

Part of the accusations revolved around the accuser being dragged at some point during the altercation. The accuser's mother testified that her impression was that the only dragging that occurred was when Lewis was trying to leave the apartment. It was not made clear throughout the trial how the alleged dragging occurred.

Ann Arbor Police officers Kabe Jenkins and Mark Pulford testified that they did not see injuries on the accuser the night of the incident and that she declined medical treatment. Two days later, she had pictures taken of two small scars at the Ann Arbor Police Station. She testified that she was sore as a result of the incident.

The accuser's mother said the former couple had multiple arguments over the years, mostly due to finances.

"The leaving-the-lights-on argument was very common between them," the accuser's mother said in her testimony. "They argued about how they spent money on things like clothes, trips, buying clothes for trips.

"Finances was a huge, ongoing argument literally since the beginning of their relationship."

The accuser's mother helped them with paying bills and gave Lewis two credit cards to assist him after a falling out with his family. She said she began taking on a "parental role" in regard to Lewis, and testified that she gave him one card to help him buy a potential engagement ring for her daughter, and another to help him with travel and for emergencies.

The accuser's mother said she also gave Lewis credit cards to help teach him about finances and to build a credit rating. She believed it would be a way to teach both Lewis and his then-girlfriend how to learn about financial issues.

According to the mother's testimony, her daughter told her when she gave Lewis credit cards that it would only cause more reason for arguments.

Information from ESPN's Todd Archer was used in this report.