MINNEAPOLIS -- There was little dispute in court Wednesday
about what running back Moe Williams did on a raunchy cruise with
several other Minnesota Vikings players, but his attorney
questioned whether it was a crime.
Attorneys gave opening statements in the indecency case against
Williams and the first witnesses were called in Hennepin County
Prosecutor Steve Tallen told jurors that prosecution witnesses
would say the cruise on Lake Minnetonka in October "basically
became a floating orgy" and that Williams touched a woman's
breasts while the two danced in view of other people.
Defense lawyer Joe Friedberg said Williams' conduct was not a
crime. Friedberg told jurors that, "Mr. Williams was having a good
time with a woman who was 100 percent consenting."
Four women and three men are on the jury. Prosecution witness
Erika Chepokas, now 23, told them she was a waitress on the boat.
She testified she saw Williams touching a topless dancer near a
Chepokas described a scene in which many women were walking
around the boat topless and giving lap dances to the male
passengers. "The entire situation was incredibly intimidating,"
Another woman working as a waitress in the tight confines of the
boat that night, Jamie Lyons, also testified that she saw Williams
touching the women's breasts.
"I wish I hadn't," she said. "I had to be so close to it that
that was the worst thing about it."
Williams, 32, was one of four Vikings originally charged with
indecent conduct, disorderly conduct and lewd or lascivious
conduct. Charges against former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper were dismissed, but Vikings tackle Bryant McKinnie and
cornerback Fred Smoot are scheduled to go on trial in May.
The scandal was the lowest point in a dismal season for the
Vikings, who lost Culpepper to a serious knee injury soon
afterward. He was traded to Miami for a second-round pick after his
relationship with the team and new head coach Brad Childress
deteriorated in the offseason.
Williams, a free agent after 10 years in the league, missed the
last half of the season with a knee injury. The Vikings don't plan
to re-sign him.