The misdemeanor trial of USC football player Aaron Emanuel opened in Pasadena Municipal Court Monday, with testimony by Sharon Hatfield and Tammy Baird, the two women who have charged that Emanuel struck them.
Emanuel, a sophomore tailback for USC last season, is charged with battery and serious bodily injury in connection with the alleged attack on Hatfield at a party May 3. He is also charged with misdemeanor battery in connection with the alleged incident involving Baird at a bar last Dec. 18.
Hatfield, who was a member of the USC women's track team, told the jury of nine women and three men that she was acquainted with Emanuel at school, and that he frequently made "lewd comments" to her.
Hatfield, 23 and a spring graduate, testified that the alleged attack occurred at a party given by a receptionist in the USC athletic department at a home in an unincorporated area known as Chapman Woods, between Arcadia and San Marino.
Hatfield said that when she and friends arrived at the party about 11:30 p.m., Emanuel, 20, was already there. She said she heard him "mouthing off" to another woman at the party and said she told him not to speak to the woman in that manner.
Hatfield also said she exchanged angry words at the party with Leroy Holt, Emanuel's friend. Holt is also a running back on the USC football team.
As the party was breaking up, around 2 a.m., Hatfield testified, Emanuel came up behind her and grabbed her buttocks. "I turned around and Aaron was standing there with a big grin on his face," she said.
Hatfield testified that she told Emanuel not to touch her again, but that he began to move toward her. She said she then threw a cup of beer in Emanuel's face.
She said that she didn't remember Emanuel hitting her, but that the next thing she remembered was asking a friend where they were.
Hatfield said she suffered a black eye and a swollen and bruised face when Emanuel punched her, as well as injuries to her elbow and ankle.
Under questioning by defense attorney Lawrence Elkins, Hatfield said that she had once walked home from a party with Emanuel "for protection."
Hatfield testified that on that occasion, Emanuel entered her apartment uninvited and refused to leave. She said she locked herself in an empty bedroom, and that Emanuel slept in her bed.
In his questioning, Elkins attempted to establish that Hatfield, who holds the national high school and junior records in the heptathlon, was the aggressor in the incident, and had provoked Emanuel by hitting him first.
"She is not a 5-foot diminutive woman," Elkins told the jury in his opening statement. "She is a 5-10, 5-11 woman, an athlete. He had an actual fear that he was being attacked. She cold-cocked him with a right cross in the mouth."
Baird, another USC student, testified that she had been a friend of Emanuel since August of last year. She said that once when she was looking for an apartment and was locked out of the place she was staying, Emanuel invited her to stay with him and Holt, his roommate.
The football players were staying at the University Hilton while waiting for their dormitories to open at the start of the school year. Baird testified that she and Emanuel slept in the same bed, but had no sexual contact.
Baird, 23, testified that the once friendly teasing that she and Emanuel had engaged in at school suddenly became abusive, and that Emanuel and Holt embarrassed her at school by calling her derisive names.
Baird testified that on Dec. 18 she arranged to meet friends at the 502 Club, a bar frequented by USC students. The night before, Baird said, she had been at the club and Emanuel had begun to taunt her. She said she left the club after complaining to the manager.
Baird said she was standing with a friend in the doorway of the club when Emanuel arrived the next night. She said that when she made it obvious that she was ignoring him, Emanuel struck her under her nose.
"After he did that, I told him, 'Aaron, you are dirt,' " Baird said.
She testified that Emanuel then slapped her and she slapped him back.
Baird said that after leaving the club for a short time, she returned and went to the far end of the bar, to avoid Emanuel. She said that he continued to shout at her from across the room, saying: "I'll get you, Tammy. No one does that to me."
According to Baird's testimony, Emanuel approached her at the bar and, when she raised a beer bottle to drink, he pushed the bottle down her throat. She testified that her throat was sore for a few days after the incident, and that her family doctor detected a bump at the back of her throat.
Emanuel has been suspended from school for a year by a USC administrative review panel, and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo psychiatric treatment once a month while serving the suspension.
Of the counts, the more serious charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. The lesser charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in county jail, a $2,000 fine, or both.
The trial is expected to continue for at least a week.