Ili Takes Stand in Own Defense - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Ili Takes Stand in Own Defense

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The man accused of assaulting two Minot police officers last August says he never hit or kicked anyone.

Jesse Ili took the stand in his own defense this afternoon in district court.

He's on trial for three class c felonies related to an incident where he and several other MSU football players were smoking marijuana in an SUV in a Minot neighborhood.

Prosecutors say Ili ran away and then bashed the head of one officer against a pole several times. He's also accused of punching another officer in the head.

On the stand today Ili said he had done no such thing.

(Nikos Berkowitz, Ward County Assistant State's Attorney) "You pushed him to get him off you?"

(Jesse Ili, Defendant) "That's all, yes. Yes, once he had a hold of my hair I did push him."

(Nikos Berkowitz) "You even pushed his head against something?"

(Jesse Ili) "No I did not."

(Nikos Berkowitz) "You did not?"

(Jesse Ili) "I did not push his head against something."

(Nikos Berkowitz) "You smashed his head into a wall?"

(Jesse Ili) "No I did not."

(Nikos Berkowitz) "Into a retaining wall?"

(Jesse Ili) "No I did not."

Ili also testified that he had not been smoking marihuana in the SUV, even though testimony from two others - including a man called by the defense - who were in the vehicle said he was. This brought this exchange with prosecutor Nikos Berkowitz.

(Nikos Berkowitz, Ward County Assistant State's Attorney) "The witnesses you called are lying, the witnesses the state called are lying...that would be accurate?"

(Jesse Ili, Defendant) "I suppose so."

(Nikos Berkowitz) "But you're not?

(Jesse Ili, Defendant) "No"

(Nikos Berkowitz) "You're telling the truth then."

Testimony has ended in the trial. Closing arguments are scheduled for tomorrow morning.

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