Former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris must spend five days in jail or the sheriff’s work program and 104 hours in domestic violence counseling for breaking bones in his ex-boyfriend’s face after a dispute last year over table manners and underwear at a Menlo Park Chinese food restaurant.
Judge Joseph Scott handed down the sentence after first denying Harris’ request to dismiss the misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence, assault and battery because, according to the defense, the statue of limitations had expired. The prosecution argued a jury has the ability to convict on the lesser included charges.
A jury convicted Harris, 31, Nov. 4 on misdemeanor alternatives to the felony charges filed by the prosecution. He faced up to a year in jail but instead received five days jail, modifiable to the work program, the counseling and three years of probation the first half of which is supervised. He must also pay a $200 fine to a battered women’s shelter and $500 to the domestic violence fund.
Harris surrenders to jail Feb. 8 and has one day of credit.
During trial, Harris’ defense never disputed he threw punches but claimed it was self-defense.
At the time of the Aug. 12, 2012, incident, Kwame Harris and ex-boyfriend Dimitri Geier were no longer dating but maintained a friendship and Geier stayed with him while traveling here for business. That night, prior to Harris taking Geier to San Jose International Airport, the men dined at a two-person table at Su Hong To Go. Geier poured soy sauce into a container which angered Harris who questioned his lack of table manners.
Harris suggested Geier find his own way to the airport and, as the two men went to his car to remove luggage, Harris reportedly accused Geier of wearing his underwear and tugged several times at his pants. Geier threw two punches which Harris met by punching him in the face, breaking orbital and cheekbones which required surgery and a metal plate.
Defense attorney Alin Cintean said Harris swung twice to defend himself after Geier hit first.
Harris left and Geier took a cab to the hospital en route to the airport. Menlo Park police arrested Harris early the next morning.
Harris took the stand in the five-day trial but his former flame did not. Instead, jurors heard a transcript of Geier’s testimony from Harris’ preliminary hearing before the man became uncooperative with prosecutors and learned he also dropped a civil lawsuit against his former boyfriend.
Harris is free on $75,000 bail.
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