Gag order on 'Butt Drag' Buchanan High School wrestling case

FRESNO, Calif.

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It comes one day after Action News has learned prosecutors have a valuable interview from a teen witness.

The teenager accused of assaulting his wrestling teammate showed up to juvenile court Thursday, but before the case got underway the judge decided it's time for everyone to stop talking.

The defendant's attorney, Stephen Quade said, "Beyond that, he has ordered a gag order ordering all parties to not discuss the matter with the media, and anyone else for that matter."

Fresno County prosecutors accuse the 17 year old high school senior of taking a wrestling move too far.

Video posted on YouTube shows a version of what's known as the "Butt Drag", it's when one wrestler grabs his opponent between the buttocks to turn him.

Prosecutors say the suspect took the move into the realm of sexual battery, during practice against a Buchanan teammate.

Action News has learned new evidence has been turned over that could help prosecutors corroborate the victim's story.

ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says if the prosecutors have a credible witness; it could be the deciding factor in the case.

"This new evidence really is a bombshell to the defense," said Capozzi. "It hurts tremendously I think without this witness, I question whether the DA would proceed with the case because it's a he said, he said."

The sexual battery charge isn't the only trouble the juvenile suspect is facing; he has also been suspended from Buchanan High School and must go through an expulsion hearing.

The defendant's expulsion attorney, Chuck Magill said, "I'm hopeful that wiser minds would come together and conclude that this has been blown out of proportion and follow the way the court seems to be wanting to resolve it. Assuming that they are willing to do that, I'm hoping that we'll be able to avoid an expulsion hearing, but if we do I'm confident that his conduct isn't expellable."

Prosecutors had offered the suspect a plea deal, giving him the chance to dismiss the case if the teen stays out of trouble for six months. But the defense refused to accept the offer saying the suspect didn't do anything wrong.

Both sides are expected to return to court next month for a trial assignment unless the case is dismissed.

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