Dani Alves testifies as trial over sexual assault accusation comes to end; verdict expected in weeks

A three-day trial focused on the allegation that former Brazil international Dani Alves sexually assaulted a woman came to a close in Barcelona on Wednesday after both the player and his accuser testified. The trial began on Monday when Alves’ lawyer unsuccessfully argued in front of a three-judge panel that the case should be suspended. The accuser testified later that day behind closed doors and her voice was distorted in an effort to protect her privacy and to avoid seeing Alves about the account that the pair met at an upscale nightclub and that she willingly entered a bathroom with him. She alleges that when she wanted to leave, he would not let her and proceeded to slap her, insult her and forced here to have sexual relations on the morning of Dec. 31, 2022.

Alves was detained on Jan. 20, 2023, in relation to the case and has been in jail since, as his requests for bail were rejected because the court considered him a flight risk. He has denied the allegations, first insisting that there was no sexual contact between him and the woman but later saying that there was a sexual encounter but that it was consensual. Alves said he initially denied that there was sexual contact in an effort to save his marriage.

A friend and cousin of the accuser who was present the night also testified on Monday that after the accuser exited the bathroom, she was distraught and said that Alves “hurt her badly,” per the Associated Press. The following day, police officers that attended to the accuser said that she was “greatly shaken” and feared that “nobody would believe her.” An officer also testified that the woman said, “I don’t want money, I want justice.” On Wednesday, a former psychologist told the court that the woman was suffering from “post-traumatic” symptoms, which was disputed by a witness for the defense.

A friend of Alves’ who was also at the nightclub, meanwhile, testified that he drank wine and whiskey, which Alves’ wife also recognized when she told the court on Tuesday that he came home “smelling of alcohol.” Alves’ friend also said the player and the accuser had “chemistry” when they danced that night and that he did not notice anything wrong with the woman after she left the bathroom.

Alves himself testified on Wednesday to again deny the account and told the court, “I am not that type of man; I am not a violent man.”

A verdict could take weeks, which is standard in such cases. State prosecutors are asking for a nine-year prison sentence if convicted, while the accuser’s lawyers are seeking 12 years. Alves’ lawyer is asking for an acquittal and if found guilty, a one-year sentence plus $54,000 in compensation for the accuser.

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