Kwame Harris, the former San Francisco 49er inadvertently outed as gay by his arrest for allegedly seriously injuring an ex-boyfriend during an argument at a Menlo Park restaurant, began trial this week for felony domestic violence.
Harris, 31, reportedly declined an offer to settle the case and is instead in the midst of jury selection for the trial on charges of domestic violence and assault with force. He faces prison time if convicted.
However, Harris’ former boyfriend is refusing to testify in the criminal trial and in February also dropped a civil lawsuit seeking damages for the alleged assault and emotional distress. Even without alleged victim Dimitri Geier’s physical participation, prosecutors can submit as evidence his testimony at a preliminary hearing and are expected to present expert witnesses in domestic violence issues.
Harris has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Aug. 12, 2012, incident in which prosecutors say Harris left his former partner with broken orbital bones and a metal plate in his head. Defense attorney Alin Cintean previously said that Geier threw the first punch and his client was charged because of who got injured in the altercation.
The encounter between the men, who were no longer dating, began at Su Hong restaurant when Harris allegedly grew upset that Geier poured soy sauce on a place of rice. The men argued for seven minutes and Harris said he would no longer take Geier to the airport as planned, according to the civil suit.
As the men left to remove Geier’s belongings from Harris’ car so that he could instead take a cab, Harris tried pulling the other man’s pants down and accused him of stealing his underwear, according to the suit.
Geier unsuccessfully tried pushing Harris away but the bigger man shook him violently and punched him in the arms, the suit stated.
Geier allegedly hit Harris three times in the face but Harris “seemed only to grow more agitated” and punched him in the face several times until he fell, the suit stated.
Harris is free from custody on $75,000 bail.
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