NO TRUE BILL: Grand jury clears Louisville Metro Council Preside - WDRB 41 Louisville News

NO TRUE BILL: Grand jury clears Louisville Metro Council President David Yates on assault charge

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David Yates David Yates

LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – A Jefferson County grand jury Wednesday chose not to indict Louisville Metro Council President David Yates on a felony assault charge stemming from an incident at a University of Louisville football game in November.

The grand jury issued a "no true bill" on one count of 2nd-degree assault, meaning the jurors did not find enough evidence to indict Yates.

Because of a potential conflict of interest, a special prosecutor outside of Jefferson County handled the case and presented it to a grand jury, this week.

Yates has been under investigation by the Louisville Metro Police Department since he got into an altercation with another man at the Nov. 12, Wake Forest game.

In an interview after the grand jury's decision, Yates said the man was "harassing" his girlfriend and "physically threatened" them in a stairwell at the game, throwing a drink at the couple. The man had assaulted Yates' girlfriend previously, he said.

"I had to defend myself and my girlfriend," Yates said. "I acted appropriately."

Yates said he struck the man in the face and the man hit the ground. 

"This is a clear case of self-defense," he said. Yates said the man had broken bones in his face as a result of the incident.

The alleged assault victim did not return a message seeking comment on Tuesday. A family member declined to comment.

An attorney for Yates, Todd Lewis, said the charge was "baseless" and that Yates confronted a man who was stalking a woman with him at the game. Lewis said Yates acted in self-defense after the man threw an object at the pair. Attorney Ryan Vantrease also represented Yates. 

Yates said he never expected to be indicted and was "surprised" that he was never told the case was in front of a grand jury, and thus he was unable to give a defense to jurors. He said he was a little "shocked, but not surprised" by the timing of the case, which came as Yates -- also an attorney -- is representing an alleged victim in the Louisville Metro Police sex abuse lawsuit.

Josh Abner, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell and his office, said in a statement that “We identified the conflict of interest in his case and referred it to office of the Attorney General on January 23 to request a special prosecutor.

"The office of Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell has had no role in the decision-making process in whether Mr. Yates should be charged criminally.”

The LMPD sexual abuse lawsuit is on hold pending a motion by the County Attorney's office asking a judge to remove Yates because he has a conflict of interest as president of the Metro Council.

The victim in the lawsuit, identified only as "N.C.," claims former Officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood sexually abused him while he was a teen in the department's youth Explorer program between 2011 and 2013.

In addition, police officials are accused of concealing evidence of the conduct by intimidation, destruction of evidence, deletion of information and refusal to comply with the Kentucky Open Records Act, as well as conspiracy to cover up the wrongdoing, according to the suit. 

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