Chris Cook found not guilty on all charges
A Hennepin County jury today found Vikings cornerback Chris Cook not guilty on all counts in his domestic assault trial. He was charged with felony domestic assault by strangulation and third-degree assault.
When police arrived at Cook's home last October 22, they found his girlfriend sitting on the living room floor, crying and holding the right side of her head as her nose bled. Chantel Baker told police she was beaten and strangled by Cook, but later recanted her tale and said Cook only got physical with her in self-defense.
With his legal troubles now in the past, Vikings observers expect the 2010 first round draft pick to return to the team next year. After a promising start to his 2011 season, Cook didn't play again after being arrested in connection with the assault charge.
During the trial, prosecutors tried to make a case that Baker only changed her story because she still cares for Cook and felt guilty about jeopardizing his NFL career. But apparently that wasn't sufficiently convincing for the jury, who began deliberating yesterday and took until about 2 p.m. this afternoon to render a verdict.
Many expected the Vikings to cut ties with Cook following his arrest, but now that he's been exonerated, it seems likely the 6'2" defensive back will get one more shot with the Vikings. Tom Pelissero, senior editor for 1500ESPN.com, had this to say following the verdict:
This is why the #Vikings were willing to wait out the legal process. My full expectation is he'll be reinstated to the roster.
-- Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 15, 2012
KFAN's Paul Charchian, on the other hand, captured in a tweet why it will be difficult for many Vikings fans to cheer for Cook going forward:
Chris Cook found not guilty of a crime he almost certainly committed. It's sad and unfortunate when battered women defend their abusers.
-- Paul Charchian (@PaulCharchian) March 15, 2012
Self-defense or not, here's to hoping Chris Cook learned his lesson and never lays his hands on a woman again.
-- Chris Cook defense: Red neck marks may have been from hickey, not strangulation
-- Chris Cook trial begins today
-- Chris Cook charged with domestic assault; Vikings cut Bernard Berrian
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