The judge investigating the Dani Alves sexual assault case heard testimonies from eight witnesses at a closed hearing lasting around two hours at Barcelona’s City of Justice complex on Friday.
The Brazilian and former Barça football player is accused of sexually assaulting a young woman at Barcelona’s Sutton nightclub on 30 December. The 39-year-old Alves has spent the last fortnight in pre-trial detention at a prison outside Barcelona after he was denied bail. ALSO READ: Dani Alves moved to ‘safer prison’ with smaller wards.
Spanish media have reported that two friends of the alleged victim told the judge on Friday that Alves also approached them in a private room of the Sutton nightclub with ‘sexual intentions without their consent’.
The investigation is being led by judge Concepción Cantón, who will determine if the case should go to trial. The investigation could continue for weeks.
The plaintiff is represented by Ester García, a specialist in sex crimes. Alves’s defence lawyer, Cristóbal Martell, is a specialist in financial cases and represented the player’s former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi in his tax fraud case.
Alves has denied any wrongdoing. At first he denied having ever seen the woman before his arrest. He then later admitted to what he called a consented sexual encounter.
Alves has also filed an appeal to seek his release on bail, offering to turn in his passport and wear a tracking device if he is set free pending the investigation. The judge had initially denied Alves bail in part because he was deemed a flight risk. The appeal is being handled by another court.
Under Spain’s new sexual consent law passed last year, known as the ‘Only Yes is Yes’ law, sexual assault takes in a variety of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different possible punishments. A case of violent rape can receive a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Alves is one of football’s most successful players, winning major titles with several elite clubs, including FC Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain over his long career.
The defender was a key part of Barcelona’s golden years playing between 2008-2016 on the team’s right flank with Lionel Messi. He won the Champions League three times with the Catalan club, which he briefly rejoined last season
He had his contract with Mexican club Pumas terminated after his arrest. He was detained after returning from the World Cup in Qatar to Spain.
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