Defense attorneys will not be able to admit the criminal history of a key witness brought by the prosecution in the case against two men facing hate crime and robbery charges, a Cook County judge ruled Friday.
Akram Alshoweat, 24, of Oak Lawn and Mohammed Shaban, 37, of Hickory Hills are accused of in June 2010. The two men have pleaded not guilty and claim they acted in self-defense against the woman, a former Olympic Mixed Martial Arts fighter whom they also say was the aggressor.
The pair rejected a plea deal in March that included no jail time.
Attorneys wanted to include the criminal past of John Mitsis, a key witness for the state, to help bolster the self-defense claim, defense attorney John Monaco told Patch Friday.
Mitsis has been charged with felony aggravated battery of a police officer. Discovery of his background postponed a trial for Alshoweat and Shaban, which was scheduled to begin in July. Mitsis was also found not guilty of an unrelated misdemeanor battery charge.
Judge Colleen Ann Hyland ruled against the motion, saying that the instance regarding Mitsis happened after the alleged June 2010 attack, Monaco said. The judge indicated that the incident was too far removed from Alshoweat and Shaban's case and pointed out the fact that Mitsis is a witness, not the alleged victim, he said.
"It was a combination of factors," Monaco said.
Alshoweat and Shaban are scheduled to be back in Hyland's court in Bridgeview for a status hearing on Oct. 24.