There is new information in Hope Solo’s motion for dismissal of the domestic violence charges pending against her.
Her nephew is ginormous: 6-9 and 280 pounds.
Could this tip the scales in her favor?
The goalkeeper’s lawyers, hope the case is thrown out before it ever gets to trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 20. That’s why they filed their dismissal motion this week. They claim they’ve been hampered in preparing a defense because the two people Solo is accused of assaulting, her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew, refuse to make themselves available for interviews.
Should that motion be denied, Solo is likely to claim at her trial that she acted in self-defense — that she was the victim, not the perpetrator, of physical violence on that night back in June when a late-night brawl erupted at her half-sister’s home in Kirkland, Wash.
Solo’s lead attorney, Todd Maybrown of Seattle, argued in court last month that the nephew attacked Solo — not the other way around. In Maybrown’s account of events, the kid grabbed a broom handle and beat his aunt with it so severely that the handle broke.
In his newly filed dismissal motion, Maybrown elaborates on that theme, and notes for the first time that the “kid” is 6-9 and 280 pounds.
The only people at the house when the trouble broke out were Solo; the half-sister, Teresa Obert; and Obert’s teenage son. Whoever called 911 — it’s a distraught male’s voice — told the dispatcher, “Hope Solo is going psychic, she’s fucking beating people up! And we need help.”
When officers arrived at the home (and noted that Solo appeared to be inebriated), it was clear that there’d been a fight. But everything else was less clear.
What happened next was what often happens when the police are summoned to a domestic disturbance. The people involved — often highly emotional, sometime high or drunk — tell conflicting stories. They’re often uncooperative or belligerent or both. They accuse each other of causing the disturbance. They deny each other’s accusations.
The officers get them separated and question them individually. Each person says he or she is innocent — the other person started it.
Then “the other person” says the exact opposite.
The officers, trained and experienced to handle such situations, listen to all sides, carefully examine the physical evidence, and try to determine what version of events is most consistent with that evidence. They make their best judgment about whether a crime has been committed, and, if so, who committed it.
The judgment that night was against Solo.
The nephew said that after he quarrelled with his aunt (trading, according to the police report, some pretty coarse insults), she charged at him, punched him in the face, and tackled him.
When the teen’s mother tried to intervene, both boy and mom said, Solo attacked her, too.
“After receiving statements of the persons involved,” said a statement from the Kirkland police, “officers determined that Solo was the primary aggressor and had instigated the assault.” She was arrested and hauled off to jail.
Solo has never spoken publicly about what happened that night. But according to this account from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — which contains the best narrative summary I’ve seen — “Solo told police she did not attack anyone and said her nephew attacked her with a broom.”
But two people said Solo was the aggressor. And both of them had visible injuries — cuts, bruises, a swollen cheekbone, and so forth. The police sergeant who interviewed Solo said he saw no injuries on her, but — and this could prove significant — “she refused to allow him to inspect her head.”
According to the police report, the nephew never denied that he got into a physical confrontation with Solo. He told the officers he’d hit his aunt with a wooden broom, breaking it over her head. He also pointed a BB gun at her. At one point, he said, he grabbed her by the hair and held her down.
But he claimed he was acting in self-defense.
Solo makes the same claim now.
So the question becomes: Whom will a jury (or possibly the judge) believe?
Who comes across as the attacker, and who was merely acting in self-defense?
This is where having a 6-9, 280-pound “victim” could come in handy for the defense.
Solo is a big woman. But at 5-9 and 150 pounds, she’d be dwarfed by her nephew.
This is not to say that someone really large can’t be a victim of domestic assault. Or that just because he’s large, he must have been the aggressor.
Nothing I’ve read suggests that he’s a menacing, physically powerful specimen. In fact, judging from the names his drunken aunt was calling him, he seems more fat than fit. Much of that 280 pounds is probably lard.
And however small Solo might look in comparison, I’ve seen her play soccer, and I’ve seen these, and I wouldn’t want to fight her.
Still, it could be tough for prosecutors to argue convincingly that a guy the size of Too Tall Jones was traumatized and pummeled by a drunken woman, even one who is a world-class athlete.
Maybe it isn’t fair, but the kid might make a more convincing witness if he didn’t need two witness chairs to sit down.