Updates from Sunday, April 6
The arraignment hearing for former University of Michigan football star Taylor Lewan has been delayed until May, according to online court records.
Lewan is expected to be charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery, records show. Arraignment on the charges was originally scheduled for Tuesday.
However, records show the notice to appear in court that was mailed to an address in Arizona listed for Lewan was returned to the court. His address was updated and a new notice was sent, records show.
On Friday, the arraignment was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 19. Lewan will be represented by John Shea.
Former Michigan offensive tackle and likely first-round NFL draft pick Taylor Lewan has been charged with three misdemeanor counts stemming from an alleged assault last December, according Ann Arbor District Court records.
Kyle Feldscher of MLive.com originally obtained the arrest record, which states Lewan is scheduled for his arraignment on the charges April 8. That's exactly one month before the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, where Lewan is widely expected to be among the top offensive tackles taken. Lewan has officially been charged with one misdemeanor count of aggravated assault and two charges of assault and battery.
Michigan law states aggravated assault without a weapon is punishable with a maximum of 12 months in prison and a $1,000 fine. The two assault and battery charges carry a maximum of 93 days in jail and a fine of $500.
The charges stem from a previously reported incident from Dec. 1 of last year. Lewan was allegedly involved in an altercation with Ohio State fans hours after the Wolverines lost a heartbreaking 42-41 game to their rivals on Nov. 30. Just after the midnight hour, police allege Lewan was the aggressor in a fight that left two men filing police reports.
Police wrapped up their investigation earlier this month, and Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes told Feldscher he expects no other charges to come from the incident.
“Unless new information surfaces, it appears he’s the only who is going to be charged at this time,” Pfannes said.
While he has given no statement since official charges were filed, Lewan has categorically denied he committed any crimes. When asked about the investigation at the NFL combine, Lewan told reporters he was actually attempting to break up a fight, not instigate one:
"I wasn't in any fight of any kind," Lewan said. "I was actually breaking something up, and some guy said that I slugged him. That's not who I am off the field. That's not the kind of person I am. It might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that's not me as a person."
This isn't Lewan's only recent run-in with the law. Earlier this year, Lewan's name surfaced regarding a 2009 sexual assault investigation surrounding kicker Brendan Gibbons, who has subsequently been kicked out of the university. According to allegations, Lewan tried intimidating a woman into not filing charges against Gibbons, telling a friend of the victim that he would "rape her" if she went to police.
Lewan also denied those allegations at the combine.
“That’s definitely a situation between those two people,” Lewan said today at the NFL scouting combine. “I’m not here to protect Brendan or the young lady, that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to play football.”
It's unclear how much these investigations will hurt Lewan's draft preparation or his stock, but it certainly raises red flags about his character. ESPN's Todd McShay (subscription required) currently has the two-time All-American as the seventh-best player in the 2014 class and third-ranked offensive tackle behind Auburn's Greg Robinson and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews. Teams have long looked past violent histories for players if they think they can contribute, and the burden of proof remains on prosecutors to prove their charges.
Nonetheless, this is the worst possible timing for Lewan. Barring a plea deal, he could be in court during critical training days for the draft, and if the case goes to trial, the situation may loom as a distraction during his rookie season. Either way, teams are going to be looking long and hard into Lewan's past in the coming months.
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