Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted murder in Santa Clara County, California, his attorney, Mark Geragos, told ESPN.
Velasquez, 40, is charged with attempted murder and 10 other gun-related charges in connection with the incident in which he allegedly chased Harry Goularte, the man accused of molesting a young relative of Velasquez’s, and fired a gun. into Goularte’s vehicle, hitting Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender. Velasquez has been in jail since February 28 and has been out on bail three times.
A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 26, where Geragos hopes to testify, the attorney said. If the case is not dismissed by then, he said, it will go to trial, which could begin before the end of the year.
Geragos said the prosecution will not call Goularte to testify in a pretrial hearing or trial, which he called “nonsense.” August 29 a motion hearing will be held to discuss whether Goularte’s absence as a witness is fair to Velasquez. Geragos said Velasquez’s one count, which could carry him to life in prison, is attempted murder, and Goularte is the alleged victim of that charge.
Goularte was released from custody on February 25. without bail after being arrested on a charge of lewd or lascivious acts against a child under 14.
“They’re trying desperately to run away from the fact that the system failed Cain,” Geragos said. “They don’t want to get involved. They want to try a case that’s different from reality.”
Geragos added that he finds it a conflict that the same office is trying both Velasquez and Goularte in their respective cases, saying they serve “two masters.”
Velasquez followed Goularte’s truck in his vehicle “on an 11-mile high-speed chase” through the city of San Jose, rammed the truck and fired several shots from a .40-caliber handgun into the truck, which contained Goularte, Bender and Goularte’s mother, Patricia, according to the DA’s office. Bender was hit by a bullet but suffered non-life threatening injuries.
A relative of Velasquez, who is not 10 years old, on February 24. told police that Goularte took them into the daycare bathroom and touched their genitals, according to the court document. The child said Goularte told him not to tell anyone what happened and that this situation could have happened “100 times.” The child told police they saw Goularte also go into the bathroom with the other children.
The kindergarten belongs to Goularte’s mother. She and Goularte have denied any wrongdoing. Velasquez’s family, Goularte, Patricia and Bender, also sued for negligence and sexual battery.
Goularte pleaded guilty to his criminal charge in June, and his next court appearance is scheduled for September 20.