Josh Furman trial opens in Michigan

Updated: April 24, 2012, 10:25 AM ET
By Michael Rothstein | WolverineNation.com

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Two female students testified on the first day of suspended Michigan safety Josh Furman's assault and domestic violence trial that they did not feel threatened by Furman during an incident in an Ann Arbor residence on Feb. 11.

Furman is charged with three misdemeanors: Domestic violence, illegal entry and assault and battery. The trial continues Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.

The witnesses testified in Michigan's 15th District Court that they were trying to stop him from reaching the back room of the residence, where a man who had allegedly sent explicit text messages about one of the female witnesses to Furman was hiding.

"We grabbed (Furman) by the arm," one of the female witnesses said. "I grabbed some of his hair."

Both witnesses said they did this to keep Furman from reaching their friend who sent the text messages.

"It probably wouldn't have ended well," one of the witnesses said if Furman had reached the man who sent the text messages.

According to all three witnesses who testified Monday, Furman and Michigan freshman cornerback Tamani Carter showed up at the residence of two of the witnesses -- one male and one female -- who testified Monday and asked to speak with a third female witness outside about the text messages. Carter has not been charged in the case.

Furman then entered the apartment and the two female witnesses successfully attempted to keep him from the back room while asking him to leave. One of the female witnesses, who lived at the residence, said Furman was usually allowed to enter as he pleased.

However, Furman and Carter allegedly did not immediately leave the premises and the two female witnesses called for the third witness, a male who lived in the apartment. He testified he threatened Furman and Carter and that he would call the police if they did not leave. When they stayed, he called the police.

By the time he was off the phone following a conversation he testified lasted between four and five minutes, Furman and Carter had left.

All those that testified Monday said they were either friends of Furman or had met him through one of the witnesses. One witness testified Furman had been at the residence twice earlier that evening.

The third witness, who called 911, also testified Monday he did not realize at the time Furman was not attacking the girls but rather trying to reach a back room where the man who sent the text messages was.

At one point, between the second and third witnesses called by the prosecution Monday, defense attorney Gerry Mason approached the prosecution with a plea bargain to just the illegal entry charge, which was not accepted. Furman said nothing throughout the proceedings, occasionally drinking water while wearing a suit.

"My take on it was, why put all these young people, who are friends, through hell," Mason said.

Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Patricia Reiser had no comment leaving the courtroom Monday, saying the trial was still ongoing.

A Michigan spokesman said Monday that Carter is an active member of the football team. Furman remains suspended.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter