Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith to stand trial in Pasadena assault case

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith reacts after intercepting a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half on Sunday.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday there is sufficient evidence for Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith to stand trial for allegedly assaulting his sister’s then-boyfriend on July 4 in Old Town Pasadena.

During the preliminary hearing at the Pasadena Courthouse, two witnesses testified they saw a man they identified as Smith stomp the head of Christopher Woods as he lay bleeding and unconscious near the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Arroyo Parkway.

“It was violent,” testified Sergio Galicia, who passed by the early-morning scene and called police.


Woods, a social worker in Atlanta, testified he recalled walking on the street, then his next memory was waking up at Huntington Hospital. Doctors inserted a metal plate and screws underneath his right eye and conducted reconstructive surgery on his left eye socket to repair five facial fractures.

Woods also tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, suffers from blurry vision and believes his injuries will require more surgery.

During cross-examination, Woods said he had no memory of Smith striking him.

Smith, who attended Blair High in Pasadena, faces felony charges of assault by means of force to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury. He pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum of seven years in state prison.

Smith, 30, has played in 12 games for the Raiders this season. He signed a four-year, $40-million contract last year. He wore all black to the hearing, occasionally scribbled notes on a legal pad, but didn’t testify and exited down a back stairwell. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 3.

Alicia Brown, a cousin of Smith, testified she, Woods and his then-girlfriend, Rayna Smith, spent the day drinking vodka, then joined Sean Smith in Old Town Pasadena for tequila shots. Rayna Smith became combative, Brown testified, and her brother tried to calm her not long before the alleged assault.

Judge Teri Schwartz denied a defense motion to dismiss the case.

Last month, Woods filed a civil lawsuit against Smith and the Raiders seeking unspecified damages. The complaint accused the Raiders of training “Smith to use whatever means necessary to hard, injure and disable those he perceived to stand in his way.”


The lawsuit said Woods suffered a “severe traumatic brain injury” in addition to permanent vision damage.

Twitter: @nathanfenno