We still have no resolution in the pending legal case against Husker running back Maurice Washington. The plea hearing against the sophomore has been pushed to July 25, according to a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Washington was not present in court Wednesday, but his California-appointed public defender, Andres Del Alcazar, appeared for him to accept a continuance due to a pending discovery request.
The new court date falls one week before Nebraska opens fall camp ahead of the 2019 season.
Washington faces two charges in the case, one a misdemeanor and one a felony in the state of California. Washington is accused, according to court documents, of texting a video of a sex act to a former girlfriend in March of 2018. Because the video was taken two years prior, while the girl was under the age of 18, and Washington sent the video while legally deemed an adult, he is facing a felony charge of distribution of child pornography as well as a misdemeanor charge under California’s “Revenge Porn” law because, it’s alleged, he sent the video to inflict emotional damage on the victim. Washington is not in the video nor did he record it.
Charges were filed against Washington back in February and an arrest warrant was signed by a California judge that same month.
Wednesday’s court date was to be Washington’s third appearance at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in California so far. He first appeared in early April, when he filed a formal waiver of arraignment. At a later date, May 13, he was appointed a public defender for the case, as his counsel in Nebraska, John C. Ball, does not have a license to practice in the state of California.
A timeline of events relevant to Nebraska in the case:
>> Washington enrolled at UNL in the fall of 2018, after the alleged incident took place.
>> On September 13, 2018, the UNL Police Department informed Nebraska’s athletic department that the Nebraska Attorney General's office was seeking to talk to Washington, according to a statement from NU spokesman Keith Mann. At that time, UNLPD provided contact information for Jamie Vaughn, Executive Associate Athletic Director-Compliance, to the Attorney General's office. The police did not know the nature of the inquiry.
>> That same day, Vaughn spoke with Ed Sexton, an investigator in the Nebraska Attorney General's office. Vaughn was told the Attorney General's office was cooperating with a California agency and that Sexton wished to speak to Washington. Mann says Vaughn was told Washington was not in any trouble in Nebraska, and Sexton would not say if Washington was the subject of the inquiry of the California agency, a witness to a matter being investigated or anything related to the nature of why the California agency wished to speak with Washington.
Vaughn stated he would look into the possibility of arranging for an interview but had no further conversations with the Attorney General's office.
Following department protocol, Vaughn informed Bob Burton, Deputy Athletic Director-Chief of Staff, and Athletic Director Bill Moos of the conversation with the Nebraska Attorney General's office.
>> Washington was then introduced to Jon Bruning, a former Nebraska Attorney General. Bruning, Mann said, has a “long-standing” friendship with Associate Athletic Director Matt Davison and head football coach Scott Frost that precedes “either’s employment at the University of Nebraska.”
Nebraska’s football staff were clear to both Bruning and Washington that Washington had to be treated as a normal client and billed appropriately, Mann said.
“Coach Frost had subsequent communication with Bruning to determine whether the Football program needed to be concerned with the issue or take any action,” Mann said. “Bruning did not share the nature of the inquiry due to attorney-client privilege, but noted it involved a text message from when Washington was in California and he doubted it would result in criminal charges.”
>> According to Mann, no additional details on the issue were provided to anyone in the Nebraska athletic department until an inquiry on Feb. 8, when Michael Bott, a reporter for NBC Bay Area, contacted UNL.
Bott said, “We will be reporting soon that a University of Nebraska football player is facing felony child pornography charges, as well as misdemeanor charges related to California's 'revenge porn' statute.' Mann said UNL was informed at a later time on Feb. 8 that the football player in question was Washington.
“This was the first time any reference to the nature of these charges was known to University officials,” Mann said.
>> Since, Nebraska has made no declarations about Washington’s future at the University, only saying that the athletic department would be following the court case in California and come to a decision only when that case had been resolved.
>> Washington was a limited participant during spring football in March and April and did not play in the Huskers’ annual spring game.
>> On June 4, he was cited by the UNL Police Department for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.