Pretrial hearing in assault case leaves both sides waiting

by Jake Grovum

Prosecution and defense met for the first time Thursday at a pretrial hearing for Gophers football team captain William VanDeSteeg’s ongoing assault case.

VanDeSteeg was charged in McLeod County with two counts of fifth-degree assault for an alleged Dec. 30 incident.

The charges, both misdemeanors, have VanDeSteeg facing up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, if found guilty.

At the hearing, VanDeSteeg’s attorney, Charles Hawkins, moved to have the complaint against his client dismissed, said assistant McLeod County Attorney Mitchell Ristine.

The defense is seeking to suppress statements made against VanDeSteeg, all based on a lack of probable cause, Ristine said.

The motion is “fairly typical,” he said, and leaves both sides awaiting another hearing, scheduled for April 3.

Ristine said if the issue isn’t resolved at the next hearing a jury will hear the case, but said he couldn’t speculate as to the likelihood of such an occurrence.

Hawkins did not respond to the Daily’s requests for comment.

In the early morning of Dec. 30, the McLeod County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call from a liquor store in Biscay, Minn., according to the criminal complaint, where they encountered a man who said VanDeSteeg assaulted him.

The same day, another man told officials he was approached by VanDeSteeg before being grabbed by the neck and lifted off the ground, stated the complaint. The complaint also noted that both men had visible physical injuries as a result of the alleged assault.