The trial of Daniel Alves, in Barcelona, Spain, for an alleged sexual assault against a 23-year-old woman in a nightclub in the Catalan city. The Brazilian pleads his innocence and claims that the relationship was consensual. He would give testimony this morning, but judge Isabel Delgado Pérez granted the defense’s request for him to be heard after the woman who accuses him, the witnesses and the experts. The hearing takes place on three consecutive days. Therefore, it should only be heard on Wednesday (7), when the work is expected to be concluded.
Daniel listened to much of the trial with his hands between his legs, without handcuffs, and sitting in a chair facing the three judges. A guard was at his side the entire time during those first few hours of the session. This Tuesday, 22 witnesses are scheduled to testify. Among them, the Brazilian’s wife, the Spanish model and businesswoman Joana Sanz. There is still no deadline for announcing the sentence.
Daniel Alves arrived at the courthouse escorted by the police and entered the room through the back door, wearing jeans and a white dress shirt. He was dressed quite soberly. He remained silent throughout the support of his lawyer, the Spanish Inés Guardiola. The player’s family members, such as his brother Ney Alves, and his mother, Lúcia Alves, were present at the trial, but had no contact with the defendant.
The athlete’s defense requested the suspension of the oral trial, claiming that initial investigations had taken place without the player’s knowledge. He said that the athlete could have taken a breathalyzer test during the period – in his most recent statement, the athlete claims that he was drunk on the night of the incident. The lawyer also cited the fact that the investigating judge denied the request for a second expert to examine the woman who accuses Daniel Alves, complained about a “parallel trial” by the press, which would have weighed on the decision for preventive detention, and commented that the player is experiencing a complicated financial situation, with doubts of almost R$3 million with the Spanish Treasury.
The request was denied by judge Isabel Delgado Pérez. On the other hand, the judge accepted the defense’s request that the Brazilian player testify only at the end of the hearing, after hearing the complainant, witnesses and experts.
As previously agreed, the woman who denounced Daniel Alves made her statement protected by a screen so that she would not have visual contact with the player, and preserve her identity. Over the course of 1h30min, she said that she was invited with friends to go to the VIP area of the Sutton nightclub and a waiter took her to Daniel Alves’ table. According to reports, they danced together and at a certain point in the night the player asked her to follow him to a door. The woman claims that she only noticed it was a bathroom when she entered the room. That was when the athlete allegedly used force to rape her, without using a condom.
In addition to the woman accusing Daniel Alves, five other people testified this Monday: a friend and a cousin of the complainant, two waiters and a doorman at the nightclub where the episode occurred.
One of the friends who were with the complainant on the night of the incident also gave a statement. In tears during her testimony, she says that her friend came out of the bathroom “crying a lot” and “heartbroken”, telling her friends repeatedly that the player had done her “very bad”. The witness said that the woman initially hesitated in making the report because she believed they would not believe her, but decided to go to the police two days after being convinced by her colleagues.
The complainant’s wife’s cousin said that from the beginning she felt uncomfortable with the player’s presence, reporting that he touched her in an intimate area while they were dancing. She says she saw the athlete heading towards a door that she believed was an exit to the outside of the club and told her cousin to “go talk to him”. Minutes later, the athlete walked through the door with an “ugly face”. Afterwards, the woman walked out the door, saying she needed to go home because he had done her “very bad”. Also according to the complainant’s cousin’s report, the woman who accuses Dani Alves started taking antidepressants, is not working and only leaves the house when her family insists.
The waiters who served Daniel Alves that night claim that the player had visited the place other times and that they did not suspect the athlete’s behavior. They confirmed there was a bottle of champagne on the table where the Brazilian was. The doorman stated that he saw the complainant “crying”, but not in an altered emotional state. He also stated that Daniel Alves was “two meters away” from the victim of the alleged sexual assault when leaving the nightclub.
Daniel Alves changed his version of the case several times, changed his defense and had three requests for provisional release denied, with the Court citing the risk of fleeing the country. The penalty for this type of crime is up to 12 years in prison.
The Barcelona Court rejected the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office’s request for the hearing to be held behind closed doors. The sessions take place openly, with the presence of the press in a separate room, but audio and image captures are prohibited. The woman who reported Daniel Alves had her identity preserved and will make her statement protected by a screen so that she does not have visual contact with the player. Her image was played on video for those present, with her image and voice distorted. The measure aims to protect the identity of the complainant.
The trial is presided over by a woman, judge Isabel Delgado Pérez, who is accompanied by magistrates Luís Belestá Segura and Pablo Diez Noval. In addition to Daniel Alves and the young woman who accuses him, on the second day another 22 will be heard, totaling 28 witnesses. The third day will be dedicated to the analysis of forensic data, such as images from the security cameras of the nightclub where the case took place, and medical examinations carried out by the complainant.
There is no deadline for announcing the sentence. Until then, Daniel Alves will remain in preventive custody. Although the accusation asks for 12 years in prison (maximum penalty), and the Public Ministry, nine, the tendency is for the Brazilian, if convicted, to remain in prison for a maximum of six years. This is because at the beginning of the legal case, the player’s defense paid the court the amount of 150 thousand euros (around R$800 thousand) in compensation to the young woman. The woman’s lawyer contests the possible reduction of the possible sentence. The MP also requested ten years of supervised release after serving his sentence in prison, and that he be prohibited from approaching the victim, as well as communicating with her, for the same period.
To pay the fine to mitigate his sentence, Daniel Alves received the amount from Neymar da Silva Santos, father of the Brazilian national team star. The full-back’s ex-wife, Dinorah Santana, who is also the mother of the player’s children and ex-partner, took legal action in Rio in August last year, charging the athlete R$13 million in child support. The player had R$7 million blocked in addition to 30% of what he receives monthly from São Paulo under the agreement to pay late salaries.
Daniel Alves’ defense, headed by lawyer Inés Guardiola, tried to reach an agreement with the complainant’s lawyers over the last few weeks. The Spanish channel Telecinco even announced that conversations to withdraw the accusation were filed in court, but negotiations for conciliation fell apart when Lúcia Alves, Daniel’s mother, shared a video on social media exposing the identity of who would be the woman who denounces athlete of sexual assault. In a statement, the lawyer assisting the woman stated that she will sue the Brazilian’s mother.