Emanuel Defense Has Begun : Prosecution Rests in Trial of Athlete

Times Staff Writer

The prosecution concluded its case Tuesday in the misdemeanor trial of USC football player Aaron Emanuel with a parade of witnesses who gave varying accounts of the two incidents in which Emanuel allegedly struck two women.

Emanuel, a sophomore tailback for USC last season, is charged with battery and serious bodily injury in connection with an alleged attack on Sharon Hatfield, 23, at a party May 3, and with misdemeanor battery in connection with the alleged incident involving Tammy Baird at a bar last Dec. 18. Both women are former USC students.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David Demerjian called three witnesses in Pasadena Municipal Court. The first, Dawn Smith, a USC student, told the jury of nine women and three men that she witnessed occasions on campus where Emanuel and his friends made derisive comments to Baird, thus corroborating Baird's earlier testimony.

Smith was recalled as a defense witness and under questioning by defense attorney Lawrence Elkins said that she was at the house party May 3.

Smith said she spoke with Hatfield about five minutes before the alleged punching and that Hatfield told of a confrontation she had just had with Emanuel's friend, Leroy Holt, starting fullback on the USC football team.

Smith testified that Hatfield told her: "I just put Leroy in his place and embarrassed him in front of his friends. If Aaron tries to do that, I'll put him in his place."

Another witness, Jane Kellogg, testified that she went to the party with Hatfield. She gave her version of the events and said she did not see Hatfield slap Emanuel, as the defense contends.

Elkins maintains that Hatfield, who was a member of the USC women's track team, threw a beer at Emanuel and struck him and that when Emanuel punched Hatfield it was in self defense.

The last witness for the prosecution contradicted the testimony of both Baird and Hatfield.

Clifford Culbreath said that he was talking with Baird, 23, at the 502 Club on the night of Dec. 18 when Emanuel approached Baird near the door of the club. Culbreath said that Emanuel threw a punch at Baird and pulled it back, "as you would do if you were shadow boxing." He said he didn't think Emanuel hit Baird.

Baird had testified that Emanuel "tagged" her under the nose and slapped her.

Culbreath, a former USC football player, also testified that Emanuel started a conversation with him during a court recess Tuesday. Culbreath said that Emanuel had told him that he didn't remember the alleged incident at the door of the nightclub and told his attorney it didn't happen.

Culbreath said that later on Dec. 18, he witnessed Emanuel strike a beer bottle that Baird was drinking. Emanuel is accused of shoving a beer bottle down Baird's throat. Culbreath called it "a tap, not a shove."

He said he was about one or two feet away from Baird at the time and didn't recall hearing the beer bottle striking Baird's teeth.

Hatfield, who was also in the club that night, earlier had testified that from where she was standing--about 10 feet away--she heard the bottle striking Baird's teeth.

Baird was recalled as a defense witness and testified that Hatfield called her in early May to ask her to file charges against Emanuel.

Elkins will continue to call defense witnesses today and said he expects Emanuel to take the stand Thursday morning.

Emanuel, 20, has been suspended from school 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.

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