Aidan Atkinson case: Defense moves to split trial

Defense attorneys have asked a judge to separate the trial for sex assault charges against Aidan Atkinson from his other charges, which today were revealed to relate to allegations that Atkinson recorded a sexual encounter without consent.

According to jail records Atkinson, 18, was initially charged with three charges of sexual assault, one charge of attempted sexual assault, and five charges of unlawful sexual contact as a juvenile after investigators say he sexually assaulted multiple young women on a party bus in September 2018.

Prosecutors later added more charges to the case that had not been made public, but during a remote motions hearing Friday attorneys said the charges were related to sexual exploitation allegations that happened at a private residence three months after the party bus incident.

Atkinson is scheduled for a nine-day trial starting Nov. 9. But at a motions hearing Friday, Atkinson’s attorney Lara Mars Baker indicated she had filed a motion to sever the sex assault and sexual exploitation case, arguing that the charges stemmed from different alleged incidents.

Prosecutors argued that the nature of both offenses allowed them to be tried at the same time.

Boulder District Judge Ingrid Bakke said she will review that motion and rule at a later time. Other motions addressed Friday touched on issues of evidence, search warrants and expert testimony.

Baker also pointed out during arguments that one of the witnesses in the case, who she described as the “heart” of many of the sex assault charges, might not be able to testify due to COVID-related travel issues, and asked that prosecutors say whether that would impact which charges ultimately went to trial.

“Our client is sitting here paralyzed,” Baker said, noting that Atkinson, formerly a star quarterback for Fairview High School, lost his scholarship to play college football at Northwestern University as a result of the case.

Chief Trial Deputy Catrina Weigel said the witness still wants to testify, and prosecutors would make a decision when they were required to because of the fluid nature of coronavirus restrictions.

“Who knows where we’re going to be in 30 days on anything?” Weigel said.

Atkinson remains free on a personal recognizance bond.

At least some of the charges stem from a student who told officials she was on a party bus for homecoming in 2018. She said she became too drunk to stand and sat next to Atkinson, who began to sexually touch her.

The girl said she told Atkinson to stop and that others saw what was happening but did not intervene, and the girl said Atkinson’s behavior continued at a restaurant.

While the Daily Camera does not typically name juvenile defendants, it is naming Atkinson because of the serious nature of the allegations and the fact that his initial arrest and charges were public record because he was 18 at the time.

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