Ex-NBA Player Mateen Cleaves’ Rape Trial Begins, Hoops Star Claims Sex Was Consensual

Jury selection began this week in the criminal trial of former Michigan State University basketball star Mateen Cleaves.

The former NBA player is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a Mundy Township hotel in 2015. Before the trial began, Cleaves led family and supporters in prayer saying, “God you know the truth. The truth will set you free,” according to WWJ Newsradio.

“According to police, the woman claims she twice tried to get away from Cleaves but was pulled back into a motel room and sexually assaulted. A witness testified that the woman was screaming “Help me!” while trying to escape a room at the Knights Inn in Mundy Township, and both times she was pulled back inside by a naked man, later identified as Cleaves.

Cleaves has denied the rape allegations, saying he and the woman had consensual sex.”

Back in 2016, adistrict judge dismissed the original charges, saying that she believed the accuser went to Cleaves motel room willingly, but a circuit court reinstated them on appeal.

Cleaves famously led Michigan State to the NCAA basketball championship in 2000, winning the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player award.

He would go on to be drafted 14th overall by the Detroit Pistons, appearing in 167 games for four NBA teams during his short career.

The charges carry up to 15 years in prison.