STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — A rape case some say was tried on social media began Wednesday in a real court of law.
A 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped last August by two Steubenville High School football players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, both 16 years old, during a wild night of drinking and back-to-school parties.
The girl was reportedly passed out, drunk and unable to resist.
Parts of the alleged rape were photographed by fellow teens at the parties. Some people tweeted about it. But no one stopped it. The images went viral.
Four months later, the hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ organized protests in Steubenville, accusing law enforcement there of turning a blind eye to the alleged rape because the accused are star football players, in a small town that traditionally regards football players as local celebrities.
Dozens of protestors, many wearing the signature ‘Anonymous’ masks held signs demanding the football players be prosecuted.
Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, has said the photos were taken out of context.
Now he is concerned his client and Mays cannot get a fair trial. Friday he filed a motion for the case to be dismissed.
This comes after a West Virginia judge refused to allow key defense witnesses to testify because they are underage and live across state lines, albeit only about 10 miles away.
Madison said Tuesday afternoon that if these key witnesses cannot testify the accused football players cannot get a fair trial.
Tuesday, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the lower court judge, who barred the defense witnesses from being subpoenaed, must re-visit the case Tuesday evening, just hours before the trial is slated to start on Wednesday.
The town of Steubenville is gearing up for a media madhouse, as more protestors, along with local and national media, descend on the once quiet, small Ohio town.