NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris were acquitted Tuesday of aggravated assault charges, in part because their defense attorneys established that witnesses had been bribed to testify against them.
The Morris twins were accused of helping others beat up a 36-year-old man named Erik Hood outside a high school basketball game in Phoenix in January 2015, when they both played for the Suns. They maintained there innocence and eventually went to trial, where their defense attorneys discovered some interesting behavior from those around Hood. Via ESPN:
Belanger said in closing arguments that the case was tainted by Hood’s mentor trying to solicit two witnesses to implicate the Morris brothers for a cash payment in return.
Two witnesses testified about the mentor’s attempt and their refusal to lie. They both went to break up the fight and placed the Morris twins near the site but not as part of the altercation.
So it sounds like someone who wanted to see the Morrises convicted (which would have made for a sweet settlement for Hood) attempted to coerce witnesses into testifying against the twins.
Hood reportedly changed the story he told police, initially saying both twins had helped assault him, then claiming Markieff had merely been in the vicinity.
Anyway, now Marcus (who now plays for the Celtics) and Markieff (Wizards) are cleared and free to return to the court, after the trial caused them to miss the start of the regular season.