Cain Velasquez has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other gun-related charges.
Velasquez, a former UFC heavyweight champion, made the plea on Friday at the Santa Clara County Justice Department in San Jose, California. Judge Jessica Delgado presided over the plea hearing. Velasquez is now scheduled for a pretrial hearing on September 26. An appeal against his denial of bail is still pending in the Court of Appeal.
Velasquez was arrested on February 28 after allegedly pursuing and shooting a car with three people, including Harry Goularte, a man accused of molesting a 4-year-old relative of Velasquez. Goularte was released on bail after being arrested for “indecent conduct with a minor under the age of 14.” He was not shot. However, Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender, was hit in the shoulder by a bullet allegedly fired by Velasquez.
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Velasquez will also hold a motion hearing on Aug. 29. The hearing will be held on camera (in a private room). His attorneys and representatives from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office continued to debate the relevance of documents related to Goularte’s arrest, including interviews with minors linked to Goularte’s alleged sexual abuse.
On Friday, District Attorney Aaron French argued that only part of the Goularte investigation should be included in the findings in Velasquez’s case because it is an ongoing investigation involving the integrity and privacy of minors.
In addition, Velasquez defense attorneys Alexandra Kazarian and Renee Hessling and French objected to the DA’s plan not to call Goularte as a witness.
“Harry Goularte is critical to what he observed and how the investigation into Mr. Cain Velasquez came about,” Hessling said. “To say he should be completely removed from the equation, to pretend he doesn’t exist, with absolutely no regard for his existence or the role he plays in it, I think is fictional. I don’t think it’s realistic. I think it’s not true for Villa. Mr Squeez is not fair at all.”
Both issues will be discussed at an in-flight hearing on Aug. 29.