Chael Sonnen Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Chael Sonnen has had two misdemeanor battery counts dismissed in his ongoing legal battle related to an alleged assault in Las Vegas this past December.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday that Sonnen now faces four misdemeanor battery counts, down from six after Las Vegas Justice Pro Tem Craig Friedberg dismissed two of the counts at a court hearing on Wednesday. Sonnen was not in attendance for the hearing. MMA Fighting confirmed the reduced charges via the court’s online case docket.
The former UFC and Bellator fighter is accused of attacking multiple people at a Four Seasons hotel, including Dr. Christopher Stellpflug and Julie Stellpflug. On March 14, prosecutors charged Sonnen with a felony count of battery by strangulation and 10 misdemeanor counts of battery, but the felony charge was dropped and the misdemeanor counts reduced to six after prosecutors filed an amended criminal complaint on March 29.
The Stellpflugs have also filed their own lawsuit against Sonnen. The couple seeks damages in excess of $15,000 for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The couple accused Sonnen of attacking them without provocation at the Las Vegas hotel on Dec. 18, 2021, with Sonnen allegedly punching both Stellpflugs, choking Christopher, and striking others who attempted to intervene in the altercation.
Sonnen was not arrested on Dec. 18, and all charges were initially dismissed without prejudice in a Las Vegas court on Jan. 27, which meant the case could potentially be re-filed at a later date.
According to the The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Defense attorney David Figler attempted to have all charges against Sonnen dismissed on Wednesday, citing in a formal motion the prosecution’s inability to obtain statements the Stellpflugs made to the media following the alleged incident. Figler sought statements in which the Stellpflugs said Sonnen was “uttering gibberish” on the night of Dec. 18, a claim that Figler sees as beneficial to his client’s case.
“[Christopher Stellpflug] has given some statements which have been broadcast concerning Mr. Sonnen’s mental state … and also claimed injuries and motivations unsupported by other evidence,” Figler wrote in the motion.
“It is clear that if Mr. Sonnen could not form the requisite intent to commit a willful and unlawful battery that he would be exonerated of all charges.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jake Merback countered in the filing that “there is no reason to believe that the statements made to the media would be inconsistent with the Stellpflug’s prior statements.” However, Merback allowed for the charges related to the alleged injuries to be dismissed in the event the judge disagreed with his argument.
Julie Stellpflug told The Las Vegas Review-Journal that her and her husband were “disgusted” with the decision and that their testimony regarding the night of Dec. 18 hasn’t changed throughout the process.
“We just want justice,” Stellpflug said. “We did not deserve what happened to us.”
“Everything has remained consistent,” she added. “There’s nothing different.”
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