ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis is among the witnesses scheduled to testify in his defense Tuesday morning, when his misdemeanor domestic violence trial continues after jury selection and opening statements concluded Monday.
Lewis was charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence after a March 15 incident that began as an argument and escalated after the alleged victim returned to the couple’s Ann Arbor, Michigan, home and found Lewis sleeping with the light on.
The trial will continue with witnesses in front of Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines, who told jurors that she anticipates the trial will conclude Tuesday.
The police report, obtained earlier this year by ESPN, shows differing accounts of the night.
Assistant Washtenaw County prosecutor Lou Danner started his opening statement by saying, “He knew what he was doing. He knew what he was doing was wrong. Yet he did it anyway. Those three things are what the case is all about.”
Meanwhile, Lewis’ lawyer, John Shea, said, “This is not a case about domestic violence. This is a case more about the opposite, actually. What Jourdan Lewis was doing this night was trying to remove himself from an argument so as to prevent further escalation of it, and in his attempts to remove himself from this argument, he was and [the alleged victim] prevented him from doing so peacefully.”
The woman, who was Lewis’ girlfriend at the time, reportedly told police that Lewis grabbed her by the neck and held her to the floor for roughly three seconds before leaving the apartment they shared.
Danner said the incident started as a “long-standing argument” about how bills would be paid and overall finances. Danner said that when Lewis and the alleged victim were short on bills, the woman’s mother assisted.
Danner said evidence will show that Lewis struck the alleged victim with a pillow in the face with “a significant amount of force” after the woman asked for an apology.
Shea countered in his opening statement that Lewis “threw” pillows at the alleged victim instead of striking her with them with force, as the woman maintained.
Multiple times during Danner’s opening statement, he said that the alleged victim asked for apologies for the argument and for allegedly striking her with pillows. Then, Danner alleged that Lewis picked up the woman and dragged her across the room.
Danner said Lewis did not deny these allegations. Danner said that after the two struggled and argued, Lewis went into a closet to grab clothing. They continued to argue. While this was happening, Danner said the alleged victim told Lewis, “Be a man. Just be a man. Fess up to what you did. Be accountable for it. Be a man.” Danner then said Lewis got angry and “called her a b----.” She responded to Lewis to say it to her face, which Danner said Lewis then did.
Danner said the alleged victim’s mother will testify that her daughter called her during the argument and told her that Lewis was hitting her. Eventually, the call dropped. Then, she called her daughter over and over, and she didn’t pick up. Danner said that eventually the alleged victim’s mother spoke with Lewis.
Danner also plans on playing an audio recording of the 911 call from the alleged victim to the police. Shea said Lewis spoke with the woman’s mother after the incident.
Shea argued in his opening statement that there is no corroboration for her allegations of aggression and that “there were no injuries” or cuts, scrapes or bruises. Shea also said the victim declined medical attention. Shea said the alleged victim didn’t call 911 until after Lewis left, but she did call her mother and told Lewis to stay. Shea alleges that Lewis was on the phone with the woman’s mother when the police called, and he called police back after, met with them and answered questions honestly, including admitting to throwing pillows at her.
Shea said Lewis will explain his version of events and that the woman impeded him from leaving the apartment to diffuse the argument. The woman is also expected to testify to her version of events Tuesday.
Lewis will be judged by a panel of five women and two men. Six of the seven jurors on the panel will decide the verdict, with one juror not included in the final deliberations but treated as an alternate for emergency reasons. The verdict must be unanimous.
While the trial was going on in Michigan, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in Oxnard, California, where the Cowboys hold training camp, that he has not spoken with Lewis recently, but others in the organization have. He was not sure when Lewis would report to camp. Even with practices put on each player’s iPad, which could allow Lewis to stay up to speed, and other technology available, Garrett doesn’t want Lewis to think about football.
“He needs to take care of that,” Garrett said.
Dallas drafted Lewis in the third round out of Michigan.
Dallas Cowboys reporter Todd Archer contributed to this report from Oxnard, California.
The Dallas Cowboys released wide receiver Lucky Whitehead on Monday, hours after the team learned that he was charged with larceny after a shoplifting arrest and then failed to appear for a court hearing earlier this month, resulting in another charge.
According to the Prince William County Police Department, Whitehead was arrested at approximately 1:30 a.m. on June 22 after an employee at a Wawa noticed he left the store without paying for some items. He was charged with shoplifting/petit larceny -- under $200, a misdemeanor -- and then failed to show for his arraignment on July 6, which resulted in a failure to appear charge, according to Prince William County General Court records.
Whitehead's agent, David Rich, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the crime is a case of mistaken identity and Whitehead committed no crime, as he was not in Virginia when the incident occurred.
On June 22, Whitehead was in Dallas, per his flight ticket. His United flight left at 7:18 a.m. direct to Washington, D.C., that morning and landed at 11:30 a.m., 10 hours after the alleged crime occurred.
Whitehead has told the Cowboys that it wasn't him. Rich told the Cowboys that Whitehead didn't appear in court because he never received the citation and summons. The reason he didn't receive the citation and summons is because he wasn't in the state when the crime occurred, Rich said.
Rich has told the Cowboys this information and said the plane record speaks for itself.
"It's just unfortunate for the kid," Rich said.
Whitehead also denied that he was involved in the shoplifting incident in a statement to CowboysHQ.com.
"I don't know who got arrested in Virginia. But it wasn't me. I NEVER once had an altercation with the cops. And come to find out, this happened, they say, at 1:34 a.m. at a Wawa in Woodbridge, Virginia [on a day] that I was in Dallas until 11:20 a.m," he said.
According to executive vice president Stephen Jones, the Cowboys became aware of the situation on Monday morning. He said Whitehead's departure was the culmination of a number of incidents involving the receiver over the past 12 months.
Jones disputed the notion that Whitehead's release was in response to recent incidents involving other Cowboys players, and said the move wasn't meant to send a message.
"Not worried about sending a message," Jones said. "Worried about his situation. We looked at it. We looked at his full body of work and we made a decision to move on."
Jones would not comment on the agent's assertion that it is a case of mistaken identity.
"In handling the situation and evaluating with the authorities there and in talking to him, we just didn't feel like it's in the best interest of the Cowboys to have him with us," coach Jason Garrett said. "We've got a track record of being able to take guys that made some mistakes early on in their career and they get better. They grow and they develop and they become great citizens and great players. We have a number of those guys on our team right now.
"We have other guys that they haven't responded to that structure and that way of doing things and they're no longer with our team. There are plenty of examples of that as well. In this particular case, we felt it was in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys to move on from Lucky Whitehead."
Last season, Whitehead was late to a Saturday walk-through, and Garrett told him to not take the flight for a game against the New York Giants
As Elliott deals with an NFL investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident last July and alleged involvement in an incident last week at a Dallas bar, Prescott offered support to the running back without getting into the specifics of the running back's issues.
"Definitely he's a good friend," Prescott said. "So yeah, I mean, I take pride in helping him out every way on and off the field, yes."
The Cowboys have had a number of off-the-field issues come about in the past month, including the disclosure that wide receiver Lucky Whitehead was arrested in June for shoplifting. Whitehead did not tell the team of the arrest, and he could end up being released.
The Cowboys say they are holding players accountable for their actions. Jason Witten said the players have addressed the issues among the group, as well.
"I've made probably as many bad decisions as any of these guys have, only being 23, so I'm definitely not one that I can point fingers and be mad or be pissed," Prescott said. "All I can do is give from my young experience and the things that happened to me. As I said, those things are being handled, and it's not something I care to go on about."
Before training camp a year ago, Prescott was cleared of charges of speeding and drunk driving in Starkville (Miss.) Municipal Court. After the arrest in March 2016, Prescott tweeted an apology and vowed something like that would not happen again.
"Everything I've been through, good and bad -- the adversity, especially -- it's shaped me, who I am today," Prescott said. "I don't really regret any mistakes I've made, because it's made me who I am, especially in that situation. As I said, it wouldn't happen again. It's about making me a better person."
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead was charged with larceny after a shoplifting arrest in Prince William County, Virginia, on June 22 and then failed to appear for a court hearing on July 6, resulting in another charge, according to online records.
Whitehead was charged with shoplifting/petit larceny -- under $200, a misdemeanor, according to Prince William County Police records. He then was charged with failure to appear when he didn't attend his July 6 arraignment, according to Prince William County General Court records.
The Prince William County Police Department said in a statement that Whitehead was arrested at approximately 1:30 a.m. ET after an employee at a Wawa noticed he left the store without paying for some items. Police officers located Whitehead in the parking lot when they arrived on the scene.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team didn't know of the arrest before Monday and is gathering information on the incident. He said it is possible Whitehead could be released.
"We will do what's in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys," Garrett said.
Asked by reporters about the charges, Whitehead said Monday: "I didn't know about that" and "I don't know what's going on."
Whitehead has a court date scheduled for Aug. 10, according to records.
Last season, Whitehead was late to a Saturday walk-through and Garrett told him to not even take the flight for a game against the New York Giants in December. Whitehead also was involved in a car accident last season and Garrett was not aware of it until informed of it by the media. Whitehead briefly posted news of the accident on Snapchat before taking it down.
TMZ Sports was first to report the news of Whitehead's arrest and missed court date.
Whitehead made headlines last week when he announced on social media that his dog Blitz was kidnapped and being held for ransom. He later announced on social media that the dog had been returned unharmed.
Whitehead's arrest is the latest legal trouble this offseason for the Cowboys:
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott was involved in an incident at a Dallas bar on July 16 that left a man with a nose injury. Dallas police have suspended their investigation because they have not been able to locate the victim and no witnesses have come forward. The running back also is awaiting possible punishment from the NFL stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident last July in Columbus, Ohio.
- Linebacker Damien Wilson was arrested July 4 on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
- Rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis is not with the team, as he was in court for a misdemeanor domestic violence court case.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin will not be charged with sexual assault after Florida prosecutors said Monday that hotel video and other evidence aren't sufficient to prove his accuser's allegations.
Broward County Assistant State Attorney Christine Adler wrote in a report that without additional corroboration of the accuser's account, prosecutors "would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual battery occurred."
A 27-year-old woman accused Irvin of drugging and sexually assaulting her at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale in March. Irvin, 51, had insisted for months that he had been falsely accused.
Irvin, who settled a sexual assault lawsuit in 2011, told a press conference Monday that these latest allegations had cost him "millions" in endorsements and business opportunities, but declined to give details.
"Just being accused of something like this, this is as devastated as it can be," said Irvin, a Fort Lauderdale native who works as an analyst for the NFL Network and as a Christian speaker. Irvin was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
He said only murdering someone is worse than falsely accusing the person of sexual assault.
"And this might even be worse because you are leaving someone alive after accusing them of drugging someone and then raping someone." He said he and his wife have prayed for the woman, but he wants prosecutors to charge her with making a false police report.
According to Adler's report, the accuser told investigators she had known Irvin for about seven years but they had a platonic relationship. The woman, whose name has been redacted, said she had texted the former University of Miami wide receiver a few weeks before their encounter and he told her he would be in Fort Lauderdale soon and would call her.
OXNARD, Calif. -- Back in 1994, Gene Jones was like a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans. She didn’t quite understand her husband, Jerry, the team's owner and general manager.
“I will never forget pillow talk,” Jerry recalled. “Came home, didn’t even look at me [and said], ‘You just can’t leave it alone, can you? Just when it gets really comfortable, you have got to shake it up. How in the world is Jimmy not our coach?’”
So even Jones’ wife thought it was a mistake to part ways with Jimmy Johnson after consecutive Super Bowl wins in 1992 and ’93.
Asked Sunday what his reaction was, Jones was silent briefly before chuckling.
“You’re speechless,” his son Stephen, the Cowboys’ executive vice president, said.
Jerry chose his wife to present him when he is enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 5. He had hoped to have his children, Stephen, Charlotte Anderson and Jerry Jones Jr., serve as presenters, but the Hall’s rules prevent that.
“Perfect choice,” Stephen said. “She represents all of us. Obviously one thing Jerry’s big on, and we certainly feel good about it is, he took a lot of people and rode on a lot of shoulders to get into the Hall of Fame, especially his family. If he had his way, we would all have a little something to say, but when you get only one person, no one can do that better than her. I think it was an incredible choice and it’ll be an amazing night.”
Jerry said he is working on his speech but admits time might be a factor.
“I thought it was 42 [minutes] and I was cutting it to 39 and a half,” Jerry joked. “My goodness, I have a lot of these old stories you guys have heard.”
He can share more with Johnson at the Hall of Fame. The Super Bowl-winning coach will be the presenter for Jason Taylor.
OXNARD, Calif. -- When it comes to Jaylon Smith, Jerry Jones just can’t help himself.
The Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager's praise has raised the hype surrounding Smith -- who did not play as a rookie last season because of a serious knee injury -- as he prepares for the first training camp practice of his career.
Jones said Smith was at the top of the Cowboys’ draft board a year ago before the linebacker suffered the injury. The Cowboys took him in the second round knowing he would likely need a redshirt season, but Jones said a second-rounder last year is like a first-rounder this year (using the trade-value chart as a reference).
“The caveat is what we all wonder: Can he play like he had the career playing at that particular time?" Jones said. “So that’s what we’re here to see. To me, he’s just like looking at a No. 1 draft pick out here coming out on the field for the first time. We all know his circumstances and what he needs to overcome. It looks really good, all testing, all feeling, really looks as good as I could have hoped that it would look at the time. We’ll see.”
The nerve in Smith’s left leg has continued to regenerate, and a recent EMG showed improved conduction to the point where there the Cowboys are hopeful for a full recovery. Smith is wearing a custom-made brace on his left foot as he continues to work his way back.
Smith will be limited early in training camp, working every other day just as he did in the organized team activities and minicamp. He has not worn pads since the injury. The Cowboys don’t want to put too much on him too soon.
While Jones has grandiose thoughts for Smith, coach Jason Garrett wants the player to be focused on the smaller picture.
“The biggest thing for us is we’re going to take it day by day. He’s made great progress because of his approach, it’s a laser-like focus on what he needs to do each day and the strides he’s made, it’s been fantastic,” Garrett said. “One of the reasons we as an organization took a risk on Jaylon is because of the kind of young man he is. He had a very serious injury, but we bet on him because of the kind of guy he is. And he hasn’t disappointed. He’s been so much better than any of our expectations could have imagined, about how to handle this, his demeanor, his work ethic, all of that. Rather than saying, ‘He’s going to come back here. He’s going to do this then.’ All that stuff is arbitrary. Keep doing what you’re doing each and every day, get better and better and better. He’s going to come out to practice [Monday], we’ll see how he does. We anticipate him doing well, if it follows with what he did in the spring. We’ll make our decisions going forward.”
“If Jaylon could have the year, the whole training camp, that Zeke Elliott had last year, would we be happy? Of course we know how limited Zeke was in training camp last year,” Jones said. “So much for that and how impactful that might be.”
Elliott missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and played in only one preseason game before leading the NFL in rushing.
OXNARD, Calif. -- In the spring, the Dallas Cowboys were given shirts that read, "RE-COMMIT" as a reminder that their success in 2016 would not automatically carry over to 2017.
When they arrived in Oxnard, California, for the start of training camp on Saturday, they were given shirts that read "FOCUS."
The messages become mantras for a season, but the buzzwords coach Jason Garrett has chosen this year don't seem to be resonating considering the drama that surrounds the Cowboys as they take to the practice field for the first time Monday.
Most of the State of the Cowboys news conference that lasted 47 minutes Sunday was about the poor behavior of a few players off the field, ranging from the legal entanglements of Ezekiel Elliott, Damien Wilson, Nolan Carroll and Jourdan Lewis to the poor optics in decisions by Dez Bryant and David Irving in either being late to or not arriving at all for reporting day, as well as Darren McFadden missing the team charter.
Garrett offered up more buzzwords Sunday, like accountability and character, when discussing the incidents that have cropped up over the past month. Publicly, the Cowboys don't put forth how players are held accountable, which leads some to wonder if there are any repercussions at all.
From late February through the middle of June, there was little question about the recommitment or focus. The Cowboys had nearly 100 percent attendance at their voluntary offseason program. Players showed up early for captains' workouts.
The message seemed to be received.
"It's what this team is about; recommit every day," quarterback Dak Prescott said after a June minicamp practice. "We come in every morning, you know it's going to be a grind. We know we're going to have meetings, hot practices, but it's about the commitment to this team and to each other. It takes doing that, recommitting every day, for us to get better and to get on that path to where we want to be. ... Recommit's not just something in this locker room. You're recommitting to this team and to our goal every day. That's probably going to play more in hand going into this month off when we're not together. It's being committed to this team and being held accountable for everyone."
Things have changed since the minicamp ended in the middle of June. The actions of a few have made the impression that the Cowboys as a whole are not recommitted or focused. Or at least not yet.
The point of the T-shirts is not supposed to be about the words. It is about the actions.
"Character is critical with us, with the Dallas Cowboys," Garrett said. "We have built this team over the last five or six years with great character guys. We believe very strongly in that. That is the kind of team we want to have. That is the kind of organization we want to have. We believe when you build with character that is what gives you the best chance to have success and building the team we are all proud to be a part of."
"The stronger your core base is, it allows you to take some risk," Jerry Jones said.
Jones often refers to the Cowboys of the 1990s that won three Super Bowls in a four-year span as proof that a risk can bring a big reward. On Sunday, he cited Charles Haley, Michael Irvin and Nate Newton. They had their own issues, but the Cowboys were strong enough to win.
He doesn't mention the risks that did not work out over the years.
The Cowboys enter their first practice with the story not about Prescott's development or the questions on defense or the holes to fill on the offensive line. It's about the possibility of having five players potentially suspended for at least the season opener or the entire season.
It's not about "RE-COMMIT" or "FOCUS."
"One of the things we try to emphasize to our team is that momentum is earned on a daily basis -- on a daily basis," Garrett said. "There's no such thing as this outside force of momentum. You earn your momentum with what you do each and every day to keep that momentum going. When the momentum is going against you, somehow, some way, you do what you need to do. You execute. You do your job the right way to stem the tide of the momentum. We're very much focused on the day: What we need to do as players and as coaches each and every day to get our jobs done. That's what carries momentum. Stay focused on the task. When things come up, don't be distracted by them. Address them, solve them, move on and get back to work. That's how you keep momentum alive."