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UPDATE: Former FSU Football Player Found Guilty of Sexual Battery

By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 12.6.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A sentencing hearing scheduled for this morning has been re-set for December 14th.

Maurice Harris was scheduled to be sentenced for a sexual battery conviction, but attorneys asked the judge to postpone it.

Prosecutor Jack Campbell and defense attorney Elizabeth Peskin say they are trying to negotiate a lesser sentence if Harris agrees to waive any appeals.

Right now, Harris is looking at 8 to15 years in prison. Attorneys would not say what kind of time he might be facing if he accepts the deal.

Harris needed more time to discuss the deal with his attorney before making a decision.
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UPDATE 11-15-2011 by Julie Montanaro

A former FSU football player is found guilty of rape in a matter of minutes.

Maurice Harris is now facing up to 15 years in prison. Eyewitness News Reporter Julie Montanaro is live at the Leon County Courthouse with more on the testimony and the verdict

Maurice Harris was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend as many as five times that night ... but jurors were asked to decide whether he was guilty or not guilty of just one. And they decided in less than 15 minutes.

"I don't remember ... "

The victim said it over and over again ... dozens of times ... as prosecutors tried to ask her about the night of May 7th ... the night she told police her ex-boyfriend Maurice Harris raped her repeatedly.
"do you want to be here today? answer: negative. we actually had to subpeona you and you asked me repeatedly not to make you come here? answer: true. "

The victim bailed Harris out of jail and asked prosecutors to drop the charges against Harris twice. Defense attorneys point out the woman resumed her relationship with Harris afteward.

Deense attorney Elizabeth Teskin says, ":" after the incident occured, miss BLEEP and mr. harris continued to talk continues to have consensual sex, and continued to date. "

Yet prosecutors say just because the woman had forgiven Harris didn't mean he didn't do it. They played a recorded phone conversation between the two the day after the alleged incident ...in which Harris says "I'm sorry for making you feel this way." "I'm sorry for raping you."

you never answered my question about "if he loved me, why would he do that?"

The prosecutor said he felt it was important to pursue the rape charges despite the victim's reluctance to testify. The case is "state versus Maurice Harris" not the woman versus Maurice Harris, he said. Harris is scheduled to be sentenced December 6th.

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UPDATED 2:35pm by Julie Montanaro

A jury deliberated for less than 15 minutes before finding Maurice Harris guilty of sexual battery.

He could face up to 15 years in prison for it.

Sentencing is set for December 6th at 8:30am.

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Updated 1:10pm

The defense has rested its case without calling Maurice Harris or any other witnesses to the stand.

Prosecutors replayed portions of a recorded phone call between Harris and the alleged victim during final arguments to the jury. "I'm sorry for raping you," Harris says near the end of the 24 minute recording.

The defense attorney told the jury that actions speak louder than words. Does a rape victim bail someone out of jail? Does she continue to have sex with him? Does she maintain a relationship with him? "Actions speak much louder than words in this case," the defense attorney said.

Defense attorneys says there was no proof of any trauma to the woman in a medical exam and no evidence of any scratches on Harris.

Prosecutors say actions do speak louder than words in this case. The woman called her family and police and submitted to a medical exam and a search of her apartment, the prosecutor said.

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Updated 12:50pm

Maurice Harris told the judge he does not wish to testify.

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Nov. 15, 2011 -Noon

Former FSU football player Maurice Harris is now on trial in courtroom 3C. He was arrested in May after police say he scaled the fence at his ex-girlfriend's apartment complex, banged on her door until she let him in and repeatedly assaulted her.

Prosecutors say Harris got upset when he searched the woman's phone and found text messages between her and another man.

Prosecutors say after the woman reported the incident she made a controlled, recorded call to Harris. They intend to play that tape for the jury.

Prosecutors say the sex was not consensual.

Defense attorneys say the sex was consensual. They contend the woman bailed Harris out of jail and twice asked for the charges to be dropped.

The defense attorney contends the woman and Harris had an off again, on again relationship that spanned three years. She contends the woman was pressured by her family to report this incident.

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Updated 11:40am

The state has rested its case against Maurice Harris.

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Updated 11:15am

Prosecutors are now playing a recording of a phone call made by the woman to Maurice Harris the day after the alleged assault.

In it, the woman said "If you love me, why did you do that?"

"Is it necessary to rape me five or six times?" she asked later in the conversation.

"I love you ... crazy," Harris said later.

"If you care, you wouldn't have forced yourself on me," she said, "I don't think you think it's wrong."

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Updated 10:15am

The alleged victim is now on the stand. She says she does not want to be here and says she has asked prosecutors repeatedly to drop the charges.

The woman says she and Harris dated off and on since 2008. "I care about his well being," she said.

She is answering almost every question with "I don't remember."

Prosecutors asked her if she told police the truth about what happened in May and she said yes.

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November 15 by Julie Montanaro

Former FSU football player Maurice Harris is now on trial in courtroom 3C. He was arrested in May after police say he scaled the fence at his ex-girlfriend's apartment complex, banged on her door until she let him in and repeatedly assaulted her.

Prosecutors say Harris got upset when he searched the woman's phone and found text messages between her and another man.

Prosecutors say after the woman reported the incident she made a controlled, recorded call to Harris. They intend to play that tape for the jury.

Prosecutors say the sex was not consensual.

Defense attorneys say the sex was consensual. They contend the woman bailed Harris out of jail and twice asked for the charges to be dropped.

The defense attorney contends the woman and Harris had an off again, on again relationship that spanned three years. She contends the woman was pressured by her family to report this incident.

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UPDATED: 8/2/11 at: 5:45 PM

Maurice Harris did not enter a plea August 2.

Instead, a trial date was set for November 14, 2011.

Harris was arrested in May 2011 when police say he climbed a fence and forced his ex-girlfriend to have sex several times.

He was also arrested in 2009 for stealing a parking boot.

The 22-year-old was charged with grand theft for that one.

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Maurice Harris has been booked into the Leon County jail on $25,000 bail.

According to the affidavit, the 22-year-old forced his ex-girlfriend to have sex six times on Saturday night.

Sunday, Harris threatened to kill himself with steak knives and then eventually left around noon.

The victim told officers Harris then told her he was at the top floor of an FSU parking garage threatening to jump off.

FSU PD located Harris in the garage in his vehicle and took him into custody.

Harris was arrested in 2009 on a felony grand theft charge for stealing a parking boot. The former high school star played in only six games for FSU.

The affidavit is attached at the top of this story.


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