Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted murder in Santa Clara County (California), his lawyer Mark Geragos told ESPN.
Velasquez, 40, is charged with attempted murder and 10 other gun-related charges stemming from an incident where he allegedly chased a man, Harry Goularte — who is accused of molesting a young relative of Velasquez — 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 denied bail on three separate occasions.
A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 26, where Geragos expects to be able to testify as witnesses, the attorney said. If the case is not dismissed at that point, he said, it would then go to trial, which could begin before the end of the year.
Geragos said the prosecution will not call Goularte to testify at the pretrial hearing or at trial, which he called “nonsense.” There will be a motion hearing on August 29 to discuss whether Goularte not being a witness is fair to Velasquez. Geragos said that the one count Velasquez is facing, which could get him life in prison, is assassination and Goularte is the alleged victim of this charge.
Goularte was released from custody on February 25 without bail after being arrested on a charge of lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 14.
“They are trying desperately to run away from the fact that the system failed Cain,” Geragos said. “They don’t want to get into that. They want to try a case that’s divorced 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 it serves “two masters.”
Velasquez followed Goularte’s truck in his own vehicle on an “11-mile, high-speed chase” through the city of San Jose, rammed the truck and fired a .40-caliber handgun multiple times into the truck, which was carrying Goularte, Bender and Goularte. mother, Patricia, according to the DA’s office. Bender was hit by a bullet, although he suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The relative of Velásquez, who is under the age of 10, told police on Feb. 24 that Goularte took them into a daycare bathroom and touched their genitals, according to a court document. The child said Goularte said not to tell anyone what happened and that this situation may have happened “100 times.” The child told police they witnessed Goularte enter the bathroom with other children as well.
The nursery is owned by Goularte’s mother. She and Goularte have denied any wrongdoing. Velasquez’s family also filed a negligence and sexual battery lawsuit against Goularte, Patricia and Bender.
Goularte pleaded guilty to his felony charge in June and is scheduled for another court date on Sept. 20.