University of Kansas

KU running back Pooka Williams has jury trial date set; diversion still possible

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr.
Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. File photo/The Associated Press

Kansas running back Pooka Williams has a jury trial date set for his domestic battery charge, though his attorney says a diversion agreement is still possible.

The jury trial for Williams, who appeared in court Wednesday morning, is set to begin at 9 a.m. on June 3. His attorney, Hatem Chahine, previously applied for and was granted a diversion agreement by the Douglas County District Attorney’s office in early January, but Chahine said the two sides have yet to agree on terms.

“That’s where we’re headed (trial) unless we can get this thing ironed out in the diversion,” Chahine said Wednesday. “ ... We just haven’t been able to come to an agreement on the diversion, that’s all. We submit our agreement, but unless we can come to an amicable result, that’s not something we’re going to do.”

The charge stems from an incident between Williams and an 18-year-old woman that took place on Dec. 5. According to an arrest affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court, a KU police officer interviewed the victim at around 11:15 a.m. on Dec. 6, with the woman stating “she was punched in the stomach, as well as grabbed by the throat” by Williams at Stouffer Apartments on campus the previous day.

The affidavit said the woman had bruises on her arms and side. She also showed text messages to the officer from Williams “where he admitted to punching (her) in the arms,” according to the affidavit.

Williams was interviewed by the officer, where he “advised he had pushed (the woman) when he saw her in a room with other guys,” according to the affidavit.

Both the woman and Williams stated they had an intimate relationship after having first met in July 2018.

The KU football program has not had further comment since coach Les Miles suspended Williams on Dec. 7.

“We are aware of a reported incident involving Pooka Williams and we are taking these allegations very seriously,” Miles said then. “We have suspended Pooka from all team-related activities pending further investigation.”

Williams, who was the Big 12’s offensive freshman of the year and also a first-team all-Big 12 coaches selection at both running back and kick returner, rushed for 1,125 yards last season.

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.