Former Michigan State star Cleaves acquitted of sexual assault

Former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves was acquitted of sexual assault charges by a jury Tuesday in a case that stemmed from a reported September 2015 incident at a motel room.

Cleaves, 41, was facing charges of unlawful imprisonment and assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual penetration. He was facing a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

The trial in a Genessee County courtroom in Cleaves’ hometown of Flint, Mich., included testimony from the alleged victim who said she was trying to leave a Mundy Township motel room but Cleaves would not allow it. Video evidence showed a woman trying to pull herself away from Cleaves, a member of Michigan State’s 2000 NCAA championship team.

Cleaves did not testify in the case and his attorneys argued that their client had consensual sex with the woman and was only pulling her back into the motel room because she was not fully clothed. A police official testified in the case that the victim did not say she was assaulted on the day in question.

Cleaves and the woman were reportedly at a charity golf tournament on the day of the alleged incident and also a bar.

The case had been dismissed once in 2016, but the charges were reinstated a year later on appeal from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to review that decision leading to a trial.

Cleaves was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2000 Final Four when the Spartans beat Florida in the title game.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo attended closing arguments Tuesday.

Cleaves played in 167 games over six seasons in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle SuperSonics.

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