By Daniel Bendtsen
Via Wyoming News Exchange
LARAMIE — The vast majority of all criminal cases in Albany County end in plea agreements, but Carl Granderson’s attorney has indicated in court documents that the former University of Wyoming football star is “proceeding to trial” in the sexual assault case pending against him.
Granderson is represented by Laramie attorney Megan Overmann Goetz, who also represented former UW basketball player Ny Redding when he was acquitted of assault and battery charges after an April trial in Laramie.
Granderson, a defensive end, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New Orleans Saints. His current trial date, July 15, coincides with the NFL’s schedule for open preseason training camp for rookies.
Granderson is currently facing third-degree sexual assault charges after he allegedly molested two women who were sleeping at his apartment on South 23rd Street in November.
The incident occurred the day after UW’s football season ended. After the charges were filed against Granderson, UW coach Craig Bohl and athletic director Tom Burman distanced themselves from the star athlete.
Before Granderson was charged with third-degree sexual assault, he was projected to be picked in the NFL draft. Instead, he was signed to a $85,000 deal by the Saints — the largest deal the team gave any undrafted free agent this year.
The Saints’ coach, Sean Payton, said earlier this month that the team was “comfortable” with taking a risk on Granderson.
“We felt real comfortable with everything we knew and so far he’s done a good job here,” Payton said.
After defendants are arraigned on felonies in district court, a trial date is set for all cases.
Because the majority of cases won’t end in a trial, judges schedule numerous trials for the same week, with each case “stacked” in a priority list.
This month, there were a few cases “stacked” ahead of Granderson’s case for the July 15 trial date. If any of those were to go to trial, Granderson’s trial would need to be rescheduled for December.
To accommodate Granderon’s NFL schedule, Overmann Goetz had asked Albany County district court judge Tori Kricken to set a different trial date that would occur after the 2020 Super Bowl.
“The defendant has recently been hired to play professional football,” Overmann Goetz wrote in a May 20 filing. “Dec. 18, 2019, is in the middle of the season, or the busiest time for his career and work.”
Prosecutor Becky Farley, however, opposed pushing the trial back to 2020.
“The state is concerned that if the defendant’s jury trial is pushed to a later date, crucial witnesses will be unavailable for trial,” Farley said.
Kricken denied Granderson’s request to reschedule the trial, but instead has given his case the top priority for the July trial date.
Under the terms of his bond, Granderson is not allowed to drink alcohol, enter a bar, and he must get court permission to leave the state.
Two women reported to the UW Police Department on Nov. 26 that Granderson “had touched them sexually, without their permission, while they were sleeping” that same day.
Granderson and both women had been staying at his off-campus apartment in Laramie the night before.
In Wyoming, a conviction of third-degree sexual assault can carry a prison sentence of as long as 15 years.