LANSING – If former Michigan State football player Auston Robertson goes to trial on sexual assault charges, his defense team has asked for it to be moved.
Robertson’s lawyers filed a change of venue motion on Tuesday afternoon during a pretrial conference in front of judge Clinton Canady III in Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing.
“It’s just a matter to make a determination and assurances that Auston gets a fair and unbiased jury pool,” said Brent Leder, one of Robertson’s attorneys.
Police: Michigan State’s Auston Robertson sexually assaulted woman in her apartment
A motion hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on May 2 and a final pretrial conference is set for the same day. A trial date is scheduled for May 14.
Robertson, 20, is charged with two counts of third-degree sexual assault – punishable by up to 15 years in prison – stemming from an alleged incident on April 9, 2017 in Meridian Township. He appeared in court on Tuesday wearing a black shirt with a tie and grey pants.
Nicole Matusko, an Ingham County assistant prosecuting attorney, said an initial plea offer was made to drop one of the two criminal sexual conduct charges. Canady will not accept any plea deals or sentencing agreements after the May 2 court date.
“Plea negotiations are always ongoing,” Leder said. “We’re still in deep discussions related to all of that. I have no comment really as to ongoing discussions.”
Ex-MSU player Auston Robertson to play at Kansas school despite pending sexual assault charges
Robertson has been out on bail and wearing an electronic tether while attending classes and playing football at Garden City Community College in Kansas. Following the pretrial hearing on Tuesday, Robertson said he is still in school there but will finish this summer and not return to Garden City next season. He said he doesn’t know what his next school will be.
A former four-star defensive end recruit from Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., Robertson appeared in seven games for Michigan State as a true freshman in 2016. He was suspended from the football team during the start of a criminal investigation and dismissed on April 21, 2017 when charges were announced.
Robertson was one of four players in Michigan State’s 2016 signing class who were kicked off the team after being charged with sexual assault. Defensive end Josh King, wide receiver Donnie Corley and defensive back Demetric Vance are also facing criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County Circuit Court stemming from an alleged incident on Jan. 16, 2017 on campus. The three are scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial conference on April 4.