Slava Voynov's wife opts for counseling to avoid contempt charge

Wife of Kings' Slava Voynov opts for domestic violence counseling, avoids a criminal contempt charge

Marta Varlamova, wife of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, opted Monday for domestic violence counseling, avoiding a charge of criminal contempt.

Voynov, who is suspended by the NHL indefinitely, with pay, is scheduled to go on trial July 6 on a felony domestic violence charge, stemming from allegations he assaulted Varlamova during an incident at their home in October.

Varlamova, appearing at a hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court in Torrance, declined to testify regarding motions being made in advance of the trial. After conferring with her attorney, Michael Walsh, Varlamova said she would accept an offer from the NHL Players' Assn. to undergo domestic violence counseling to determine whether she would change her mind about testifying.

Judge Eric Taylor is expected to rule Tuesday on a motion to suppress statements made by Varlamova to Justin Weber, a clinical social worker, in the emergency room at Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance on Oct. 19. Walsh said that since Weber is a licensed therapist the conversation should be deemed confidential.

Taylor also could rule on defense motions that other statements made by Varlamova to hospital workers should be disallowed.

Walsh said the players' union had offered the counseling after the October incident. He did not indicate how long Varlamova could wait before she would have to attend counseling.

"I do not have a timetable available as to when they can get her in," said Walsh, who later added that he hoped to have a definitive plan by Tuesday's hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Frank Dunnick said Varlamova's testimony was essential for the purpose of "establishing the traumatic events for the layout of the case." He urged Taylor to "do everything possible to get her to testify."

Taylor said that "a contempt charge is very limited in what we can do." The fine for contempt is less than $1,000.

Three nurses and a security guard from the medical center testified Monday during the hearing to determine whether Varlamova's statements on the night of the incident should be suppressed.

Ronnie Liston, a security guard, said he suspected domestic violence when Varlamova arrived at the hospital. Liston said that Varlamova "looked up at me and said, 'he hit me.'"

Cassie Wong, a nurse in the emergency room, said that Varlamova told her that after arriving home following a party, Voynov "had pushed her into a TV stand."

Varlamova was treated for a laceration over her left eye, which required stitches.

Pamela Mackey, an attorney for Voynov, noted that in a previous statement Wong had said she could not remember whether Varlamova had said that to her or she'd heard it later when Weber was interviewing Varlamova, using a Russian translator over the telephone.

Wong said she had rechecked her notes on the evening and was sure Varlamova made the statement directly to her and said, "She was not speaking Russian."

Under further questioning, Liston said that Voynov, who was present at the hospital, was neither argumentative nor aggressive.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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