What Hope Solo Can Expect in Court

AP Photo/Darren Abate

Hope Solo will be in court on Monday.

When Hope Solo walks into Courtroom 1 in the Kirkland, Washington, Justice Center on Monday morning, she will have a sense of what Yogi Berra called "déjà vu all over again."

She's been there before -- the same judge, the same lawyer, the same charge of fourth-degree domestic assault, the same allegation of intoxication and the same toxic mix of alcohol and family.

The first time was in November 2012, and it was her then-fiancé and now husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, who with defense attorney Todd Maybrown faced Judge Michael Lambo and tried to explain away what appeared to be assaults on Solo's brother and on Solo during a drunken family melee on the eve of their wedding.

This time, Solo again will be with Maybrown before Lambo, trying to explain away what allegedly were assaults on her sister and a nephew during another drunken family melee on June 21. 

Solo, 33, has already issued an apology on Facebook to "my fans, teammates, coaches, marketing partners, and the entire US Soccer and Seattle Reign FC communities for my involvement in a highly unfortunate incident."

Undoubtedly she hopes she'll enjoy the same ruling from Lambo that he issued in the case against Stevens. Lambo, noting the "noncooperation of the witnesses against Stevens (including Solo and her brother)," dismissed the case against Stevens despite police reports of intoxication and evidence of injury.

Solo hints at what she hopes might happen in court Monday in her Facebook post, stating that "my sincere hope is that we are able to resolve this situation as a family." Neither Solo nor Maybrown would discuss the possibility of a settlement between Solo and her relatives, but Solo knows from the earlier incident that "noncooperation" of victims can lead to a dismissal.

The prosecutor does not expect a settlement or a dismissal. "It will be a short hearing, and the matter will be set for trial," Kirkland assistant prosecutor Tammy McElyea said.

The incident that led to the charges against Solo began when Solo arrived for a visit at the home of her half-sister, Teresa Obert, 42. The sisters had been estranged, according to a statement given to police by Obert's 17-year-old son, Christian. Solo had already been drinking before she arrived at the Obert home, and she told her relatives that she was upset with her husband because he was "being a jerk" and would not take her to the airport.

The sisters continued to drink wine and, according to a sworn police statement filed in court, the name-calling and fighting began when Christian, an aspiring actor, suggested that he needed an "athletic state of mind" to perform in theatrical productions.

According to the report, Solo told Christian that he "would never be athletic, that he was too fat and overweight and crazy to be an athlete." The report then details some ugly name-calling from the boy, and he told police that he left the room. But Solo followed him into a family room, where they exchanged shoves and punches. Christian managed to push Solo to the floor and hold her until she calmed down, the court documents said, but Solo renewed the attack when Christian let her up off the floor. Teresa then joined the fray, exchanging punches with Solo.

Looking for an advantage, Christian made weapons out of a broomstick, a broken BB gun and an aluminum-handled mop. Teresa managed to push Solo out the door at one point as Christian was calling 911. But Solo leapt over a fence, re-entered the house through a side door, and resumed the attack as the police arrived.

After the police established a truce, they noted that Christian was bleeding from a cut on his left ear, he had "bright red scratch marks" on his arms, and his T-shirt was ripped apart. The officers also noted a purplish bruise on Teresa's face. They "did not observe any injuries on Hope," according to their reports.

In her statements to the investigators, Teresa was "highly emotional," repeatedly apologizing to her son "for letting Hope back into their lives."

Police officers in Washington are required to make an arrest in any incident of domestic violence, and they arrested Solo.

Maybrown, Solo's lawyer, claims that Solo was the victim of the brawl and asserts that the broomstick was broken over her head. Solo, however, refused to cooperate with police officers who wanted to examine her head for any injury.

If Solo is unable establish a cease-fire and a settlement with her sister and nephew, she will face prosecution, a trial and a possible sentence of six months in jail. Even if she makes peace with her relatives, the Kirkland prosecutors could decide to prosecute Solo, forcing the relatives to testify against her. It would be a difficult prosecution, but it is something that authorities do when they have lost patience with repeat offenders. McElyea refused to discuss the possibilities.

Solo is one of the world's greatest female soccer goalkeepers and has appeared on TV's "Dancing with the Stars" and the cover of ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue.

Her appearance will be her second in the Kirkland courthouse in 20 months. In both incidents, the Kirkland police reported Solo as "highly intoxicated." At the end of the first hearing, the charge against Stevens was dismissed, and the couple married on schedule.

Kirkland is a quiet suburb of 80,000 near Seattle. In addition to Solo, its most famous resident, Kirkland's claims to fame include a team that won the Little League World Series in 1982, an event that was portrayed in an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary titled "Little Big Men."

The Kirkland authorities clearly gave Solo and Stevens a break the first time. What will they do as Solo faces the same charge with the same allegation of intoxication before the same judge with the same lawyer? Solo's déjà vu may end differently Monday morning.

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