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Defense pokes holes in Mateen Cleaves sexual assault case

Testimony claims Cleaves raped victim, held her against her will

GENESSEE COUNTY, Mich. – The fireworks continued Wednesday in the Mateen Cleaves sexual assault trial as defense attorneys got their chance to poke holes in the case.

It was another spirited court session in Genessee County, as the judge spent as much time refereeing the spats between lawyers as she did overseeing the evidence in the preliminary hearing.

In the end, Cleaves' attorney pushed back hard against Tuesday's damning testimony that claimed Cleaves raped and held the alleged victim against her will.

"Would everybody please forget the media is in the courtroom? Who cares? Especially me," Judge Cathy Dowd said.

It was an exasperating court session for Dowd, who tried to keep a lid on a very tense cross examination.

Cleaves' attorney, Frank Manley, wanted to hear more from the first witness to the alleged crime, Knights Hotel resident Colleen Dowdall.

"You said on a scale of 10 being drunk, she was an 11," Manley said.

"Yes I did," Dowdall said.

"So that means you said she was trashed," Manley said.

"She seemed trashed to me, extremely drunk, yes," Dowdall said.

Manley characterized the charges against Cleaves as the ramblings of a drunk.

"She never said she was assaulted to you, right?" he said. "You never saw Mr. Cleaves rape anybody and she told the police she didn't want to press charges, right?"

Manley challenged Dowdall's story of the night of the alleged attack, getting her to admit the young woman was difficult to deal with as she attempted to dress the victim, saying it was like dressing a 3-year-old.

There was an afternoon bombshell in the case. Usually everyone knows everything about a case, but not this case. The sexual assault nurse didn't like the detective investigating the assault and filed a complaint against him. The defense knew nothing about it and the prosecutor said it was news to her, too. It could change the way the case goes.

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