COLUMBUS -- On the eve of their trial, the attorney for one of two Ohio high school football players charged with raping a girl after an alcohol-fueled party said Tuesday that moving forward with the case is "patently unfair and un-American" because important witnesses haven't been compelled to testify.
The attorney for Ma'Lik Richmond filed a motion Monday saying that further prosecution of Richmond violates his due process and equal protection rights and asks the judge or state to dismiss the case.
"You have case where it's clear -- clear -- that basic, fundamental, constitutional guarantees are not available to this child, my client, to put on a defense," Walter Madison told The Associated Press.
Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, are scheduled to go on trial today in Jefferson County juvenile court in Steubenville on charges they attacked a 16-year-old West Virginia girl last August. Their attorneys have denied the charges.
But the attorneys for both teens said their clients will be denied a fair trial because of the availability of crucial witnesses. A West Virginia judge's ruled last week that three juvenile witnesses there could not be compelled to testify in the Ohio case.
"These potential witnesses have been threatened because their testimony is viewed as helpful to Juvenile Richmond's innocence," Madison wrote in his motion. "These witnesses are the best friends of the alleged victim."
Dozens of witnesses for both sides are expected to testify at the trial. Their testimony is considered crucial because the girl was severely intoxicated that night.
and appeared to be passed out at times, according to several witnesses.