There may not be a resolution to Maurice Washington’s legal situation until the Huskers’ 2019 season is completed. Washington had another day in Santa Clara County Court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing setting after the initial setting in July was continued. The matter was once again delayed until Thursday, Oct. 17, at 9 a.m. PT, Benjamin Rada, a spokesman for the court confirmed to Hail Varsity.
Nebraska has a bye week that week, sandwiched in between games against Minnesota on the road and Indiana at home. Washington, as was the case Tuesday, is not required to physically appear in court. Washington’s attorney asked for the initial continuance back in July and did so again on Tuesday.
“We did have a discussion with the judge and we started discussing the status of the case, but we’re just sort of in preliminary discussions right now,” said deputy district attorney Quinn Nichols, the prosecutor handling the case. “This was the first opportunity we’ve had to start those discussions so we’re coming back in October, on October 17, and hopefully we can continue.”
What Tuesday was supposed to accomplish, and what the prosecution will hope to successfully accomplish in October, is a date-setting for a preliminary hearing in the case. If and when a preliminary hearing is set, it will serve as the first of potentially two evidentiary hearings, including the defense, prosecution and the presiding judge. The purpose is to determine whether Washington will be “held to answer” and if a jury trial will be needed. The judge would need to decide whether there’s probable cause that Washington committed a crime in order to move forward with a jury trial.
Washington faces a felony charge of possession of a video of a person under the age of 18 engaging in sexual conduct. He is also charged with one misdemeanor count under California’s “Revenge Porn” law for sending that video to the victim to inflict emotional harm. Nichols said it’s still too early to say if and when a possible deal could happen, though progress appears to have been made.
“We started talking about the parameters of what any resolution would look like, but we didn’t get into specifics,” he said. “We’re not there yet.” Asked if placement on the sex offender registry is a potential hangup in any deal, Nichols said “obviously because of what he’s charged with that’s part of the discussion, but what I can tell you is we’re discussing the case broadly. There is no one specific factor that is really holding anything up. It’s just that this process takes a while.”
Washington missed the first half of Saturday’s season-opener against South Alabama, serving a one-half suspension that had been agreed to by head coach Scott Frost, the athletic department and UNL officials. Frost said the suspension was “in addition to internal punishment and discipline he already has.”
Washington was the first running back to take the field in the second half and he finished the game with six carries for 39 yards with a catch for 13 yards. After the game, Frost said no further punishment would happen until the legal matter is resolved.
“We won’t consider any conditional discipline for him until the matter is completely adjudicated,” Frost said. “So, the plan was to sit him the first half and play him in the second. He’ll play going forward, and I won’t have any other comment about it until it’s adjudicated in California.”
Nebraska plays Colorado on the road this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MT/2:30 p.m. CT. Washington is expected to be fully available for that; he maintained co-starter status on the new depth chart for the week.