As the Steubenville rape case heads to trial this week, prosecutors are asking that the judge throw the case out due to the "unavailability of material witnesses," which denies one of the boys his right to a fair trial. Also, one of the defendants has spoken out about what happened that fateful night in a new interview for "20/20."
The case that has riveted the nation and caused a great division in the small town of Steubenville, Ohio is set to begin this week. However, the attorneys for defendant Trent Mays have petitioned the judge to dismiss the case against him. They claim that a lack of witnesses will hinder their defense and put their client at risk.
"The witness will testify that she spoke to the alleged victim immediately following the alleged incident and will provide information about the victim's words, conduct, and state of mind," Mays' attorneys wrote in a motion obtained by the Associated Press.
The judge denied a prior request to subpoena three minors to testify at the case, and it's possible that the judge will also deny the petition to dismiss. There will be more than a dozen witnesses for each side, as there are many angles to cover regarding the alleged victim's behavior and state of mind during the evening.
One of the two accused, Ma'lik Richmond, has given an interview to "20/20" that will air next week. The promotions for the show, which feature statements by Richmond, have added fuel to the fire for those who have sided with the young woman at the heart of the case.
"She had her arm wrapped around me and one hand on my chest. It just felt like she was coming on to me," Richmond said. "She was just like laughing, we were all talking, just clowning around and that's when her ex-boyfriend was like, 'Let me get a picture of this drunk [expletive].' And that's when we took the picture."
That picture was then posted online, setting off a frenzy of photos, comments, and videos regarding the girl. While many claimed that the girl was too intoxicated to consent and her reputation damaged, others have said that the boys were sent mixed signals and did not commit a crime.
The case has drawn national attention from the public and hacker groups such as Anonymous and others who feel the young woman should have been more protected and supported.