A prosecutor said Friday that a former University of Iowa football player was not fully candid when he testified at his ex-teammate’s sexual assault trial last week, but she will not recommend he receive any jail time for his role in the case.
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Assistant Johnson County Attorney Anne Lahey said she thinks Abe Satterfield did not honor his end of the plea bargain because he "didn’t testify according to how he said he was going to testify" against Cedric Everson. But she said she would still abide by the deal’s terms, which include not asking for any jail time on a misdemeanor assault charge to which Satterfield pleaded guilty.
Prosecutors claim Satterfield sexually assaulted a freshman student-athlete in a vacant dorm room in October 2007 and then allowed Everson to do the same while she slept. Both men originally faced felony charges, but prosecutors dropped two felony sexual abuse charges against Satterfield in return for him pleading guilty to the misdemeanor and testifying as a state’s witness against Everson.
In the end, Satterfield’s testimony’s "probably didn’t help our case that much," Lahey said. It included some statements she expected, but he said them "maybe not as strongly or as firmly as he had said them earlier."
Satterfield, 22, testified that the woman "was the aggressor," it was her idea to have sex and she never told him to stop. He said Everson came in the room while he and the woman were sleeping, tapped him on the shoulder and told him to get out of bed. Satterfield said he fell asleep on the floor and didn’t know what happened between Everson and the woman, but he climbed back in bed after Everson woke him up and left.
The woman testified during Everson’s trial that Satterfield held her down and had sex with her against her will. She said she woke up covered in blood and didn’t know Everson had been involved until weeks later.
In the plea, Satterfield admitted he acted "with the intent to cause serious mental anguish" to the woman and his actions "were insulting or offensive" to her. He did not make any such admission on the witness stand.
Satterfield’s attorney, Alfredo Parrish, said his client was truthful on the witness stand and prosecutors should not have been surprised by anything he said. He told the same version of events to investigators after his plea was reached, Parrish said.
Jurors convicted Everson on Thursday of misdemeanor assault, and he faces up to 30 days in jail when he is sentenced next month. But jurors declined to convict Everson of third-degree sexual abuse, which would have carried up to 10 years in prison.
Lahey said prosecutors considered trying to back out of the deal with Satterfield, but decided against it in the interest of bringing closure to the woman.
District Judge Marsha Bergan was expected to sentence Satterfield at 11 a.m. Friday, but neither he nor his attorney showed up. Bergan delayed sentencing until March 11 and ordered Satterfield to appear unless she grants him a specific written waiver.
Parrish said they had been told the sentencing would be handled through a court filing since it was a misdemeanor and "not a big deal."
Everson’s attorney, Leon Spies, said Satterfield’s testimony helped his client avoid being convicted on the much more serious charge.
"Abe is an engaging, charming and I think pretty believable person in a lot of respects. I don’t know if he was our most helpful witness, but he gave a dimension to the case that the jury absolutely, positively needed to hear," Spies said. "He was an important ingredient."
Lahey said the woman was disappointed in the verdict against Everson.
"She’s a very strong person to have gone through all of this," Lahey said. "She knew going in that things may not have turned out as we hoped. She’s a very strong person and I’m sure she will endure."