Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in Santa Clara County, California, on Friday, his attorney Mark Geragos told ESPN.
Velasquez, 40, is charged with attempted murder and 10 other gun-related charges following an incident in which he allegedly pursued a man, Harry Goularte — who is accused of molesting a young relative of Velasquez’s — and shooting a gun in Goularte’s vehicle, hitting Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender. Velasquez has been in prison since February 28 and has been released on bail on three separate occasions.
A pre-trial hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 26, where Geragos expects to allow witnesses to testify, the attorney said. If the case is not dropped by then, he said, it could go to trial, which could begin before the end of the year.
Geragos said the prosecutor will not call Goularte to testify at the hearing or during the trial, which he called “nonsense”. A hearing will be held on August 29 to discuss whether the fact that Goularte is not a witness is fair to Velasquez. Geragos said the only count Velasquez faces who could face life in prison is an attempted murder and that Goularte is the alleged victim of the charges.
Goularte was released without bail on February 25 after being arrested on charges of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.
“They are desperately trying to run from the fact that the system has failed Cain,” Geragos said. “They don’t want to go into that. They want to try a case that is separate from reality.”
Geragos added that he finds it a conflict that the same agency is trying both Velasquez and Goularte in their respective cases, saying it serves “two gentlemen”.
Velasquez followed Goularte’s truck in his own vehicle on an “11-mile high-speed chase” through the city of San Jose, rambling into the truck and firing a 40-caliber pistol multiple times into the truck, which was carrying Goularte, Bender, and Goularte’s mother, Patricia, according to the OM. Bender was hit by a bullet, although he sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Velasquez’ relative, who is under 10, told police on Feb. 24 that Goularte took them to a nursery bathroom and touched their genitals, according to a court document. The child said that Goularte had said not to tell anyone what happened and that this situation may have happened “100 times”. The child told police that they had also seen Goularte go to the bathroom with other children.
The nursery is owned by Goularte’s mother. She and Goularte have denied any allegation. Velasquez’s family has also filed a lawsuit for negligence and sexual battery against Goularte, Patricia and Bender.
Goularte pleaded guilty to his criminal charges in June and is scheduled to face a new trial on September 20.