Jury selection begins in Watson, Toussaint sexual assault trial

Joanna Dornfeld

Two University football players charged with an on-campus sexual assault will stand trial beginning Monday at the Hennepin County Courthouse.

Steven Watson and Mackenzy Toussaint are both charged with first- and third-degree sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in Roy Wilkins Hall on July 6.

Pre-trial motions and jury selection start Monday. Opening arguments are likely to begin Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

The trial will last approximately a week, said a Hennepin County Attorney’s Office spokesman.

“I think (the victim) will testify and a couple of cops will testify and the defense will put its case on,” said Joe Friedberg, Watson’s attorney.

Watson and Toussaint were charged Aug. 15. They were released Aug. 16 on $50,000 bond each.

Third-degree sexual assault involves penetration through force or coercion. First-degree sexual assault charges usually involve injuries to the victim but were filed in this case under a two-or-more-perpetrators provision.

Watson and Toussaint were also suspended from the University football team as a result of the charges.

“In my mind, this is a classic example of charging a case (the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office) can’t prove,” said Earl Gray, Toussaint’s attorney.

“If they weren’t football players, they never would have been charged,” he said.

According to the criminal complaint:

The victim went to the University Avenue residence July 6 to help a friend with a paper.

Later that day, Watson was working on a computer in a bedroom and Toussaint was lying on the bed. The victim repeatedly slapped Watson’s hands away from the keyboard while he was working.

Toussaint told the victim that if she didn’t stop hitting Watson’s hands, they would take off her dress.

The victim later ran into the room and slapped Watson’s hand and he grabbed her wrist. Toussaint then came up behind her, gave her a hug and sat her on the bed next to him.

Watson then asked the victim if she wanted to have sex. She said no.

Watson closed the door. Toussaint requested a back massage and the victim agreed. Watson ran his hand up her skirt and the victim asked him to stop. Toussaint told her to give Watson what he wanted.

The men then cornered the victim on the bed and Watson removed her underwear. They pinned her to the bed and forced her to perform oral sex on Toussaint.

Watson left the room, and a young child entered the room and screamed. Toussaint told the victim he would give her dress back if she finished. He took her into the closet where she performed oral sex on Toussaint. He returned her dress but not her underwear.

Toussaint left the room, but the victim was afraid to leave.

Watson then entered the bedroom and forced the victim to have sexual intercourse with him. She was then able to escape.

Two men entered the bedroom and Toussaint escorted the victim from the apartment.