Brazilian Football star Dani Alves went on trial on Monday, a year after he was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a young woman in a Barcelona nightclub.

Dani Alves, a former Barcelona player, has been in pre-trial detention for over a year since he was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a woman on the night of December 31, 2022. They deny any wrongdoing.

Clad in a white dress shirt and jeans, Dani Alves took a seat in the courtroom after arriving in a police van. His mother was also present at the Barcelona courthouse. After a brief break as the courtroom emptied, Dani Alves’ mother kissed her son and made a heart-shaped gesture as Alves was led back inside in handcuffs.

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State prosecutors are seeking a nine-year prison sentence for Dani Alves if convicted, while lawyers representing his co-accused are seeking a 12-year sentence.

Under Spain’s 2022 law on sexual consent, sexual assault offenses range from online abuse and rape to various potential penalties. Rape carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

The trial will continue till Wednesday.

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves sits during his trial.

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves sits during his trial on February 5, 2024 in Barcelona, ​​Spain. (De Zoracino/Pool Photo via AP)

The court ordered that the accused’s testimony on Monday be held behind closed doors without media access and that no photographs of him be taken to protect his identity. The decision came after a video circulating on social media last month purportedly identified the woman.

A screen was placed between the accuser and Alves as she testified, and the court ordered that the video recording of her testimony be pixelated and her voice distorted to protect her privacy. I can be sure.

Dani Alves, now 40, was arrested on January 20, 2023 after responding to a police summons during a visit. To Spain. A court ordered him to jail after analyzing the initial police investigation and hearing testimony from the alleged victim, witnesses and the player himself.

Three days after his arrest, Dani Alves was transferred by the authorities to Brines 2 prison, about 45 minutes northwest of Barcelona, ​​for security reasons. He has been there ever since.

Dani Alves’ bail applications were rejected because the court deemed him a flight risk, although he offered to surrender his passport and wear a tracking device. Brazil does not extradite its citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.

In testimony to state prosecutors, the woman said she met Alves late after midnight at the Sutton nightclub in an upscale neighborhood in Barcelona. She accompanied him to a VIP area and a private bathroom where he allegedly slapped her, used abusive language and sexually assaulted her, according to her testimony.

Before he was indicted by an investigating judge in August, Alves’ lawyers tried unsuccessfully to discredit the testimony of his accuser and other witnesses by presenting security camera footage from the nightclub. Any alleged molestation “should not in any way justify an ultimate sexual assault,” the court said.

Elvis has modified his defense several times.

The first time he had ever seen this woman was when he went dancing on the night in question.

After her arrest, he denied having any sex with her, only to admit to a sexual encounter three months later, which he said was consensual. He said he was initially trying to save his marriage by not admitting to the sexual encounter.

In the only interview Alves has given since his arrest, he told Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in June that “my conscience is clear about what happened that morning. . . . what happened and what didn’t happen.” . And what didn’t happen is that I forced this woman to do what we did.”

Alves, whose legal name is Daniel Alves, has changed attorneys three times. He will be represented at trial by Ines Guardiola, a defense expert hired in October.

The alleged victim is represented by Esther Garcia, a litigation expert. Sexual crimes.

The trial will be held before a three-judge panel presided over by Magistrate Isabel Delgado. Twenty-eight witnesses will testify between Monday and Tuesday before the court hears Alves with experts on Wednesday.

Alves has been ordered to set aside 150,000 euros ($162,000) to pay his alleged victim if he is found guilty and ordered to pay damages.

Alves’ arrest shattered his image as a charismatic winner with a long and successful career.

He has won major titles with several elite clubs including Barcelona, ​​Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped Brazil win two Copa America trophies and an Olympic gold medal at the age of 38. He played his third World Cup in 2022, the only major title he did not win.

The right-back was a key part of Barcelona’s golden years, playing alongside Lionel Messi from 2008-16. He won the Champions League three times during that run with the Catalan club, which he briefly rejoined in 2022.

Elvis terminated his contract with Mexican club Pumas shortly after his arrest.

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