Florida State football star acquitted of battery, reinstated to team
By Bill Cotterell
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - A star running back for Florida State University's football squad may return to the field on Tuesday, one day after he was acquitted of a misdemeanor battery charge that he punched a young woman in the mouth outside a bar.
A jury deliberated for 25 minutes before delivering its not guilty verdict in the case against Dalvin Cook, FSU's leading rusher last season.
Cook, who had been suspended from the team pending the outcome of the trial, was immediately reinstated and considered eligible to practice and compete, FSU said in a statement.
Cook, then 19, was charged with battery in connection with an altercation in front of Clyde's and Costello's, a popular bar near the state capitol, shortly after the establishment had closed at about 2 a.m. on June 23.
Joey McCall, Cook’s defense attorney, told the jury the prosecution's case "just doesn’t add up," arguing that it hinged on the memory of the accuser, Madison Geohegan, who admitted she was "buzzed" after drinking with a friend.
Prosecutor Sarah Dugan said a small group of players, including Cook, had approached Geohegan, 21, and Keara Lubeskie, 19, as the two women were leaving the bar and tried to talk with them but were rebuffed.
As the encounter grew louder and more contentious, Geohegan testified, Cook punched her, splitting her lower lip.
Lubeskie also identified Cook in court as the player who struck Geohegan. She also testified that she was hit in the side as Cook was flailing at Geohegan, with his friends trying to pull him away. Continued...