Defense asks for change of venue, suppression of evidence in former UW student sexual assault case
MADISON, Wis. — The defense in the case of the former UW student accused of sexually assaulting multiple students asked for evidence — including a black leather notebook with a list of women’s names — to be thrown out and for a change of venue Monday, according to court documents.
Alec Cook, 22, is charged with more than 20 crimes including misdemeanor disorderly conduct and felony sexual assault, for incidents between September 2014 and October 2016.
Monday, the defense officially filed a motion for a change of venue for the case citing examples in local media as reasons why Cook would not have a fair trial in Madison. Evidence listed included a Facebook post from a student titled “An Open Letter to Alec R. Cook,” photos published in the student newspaper and the use of his photo in multiple local news outlets, including a Channel3000 story.
The defense also moved for the suppression of evidence found in notebooks and journals that were seized from Cook’s apartment, saying they were obtained illegally and in “bad faith,” according to court documents.
One of the notebooks in question is a black leather notebook with a list of women’s names that was found in Cook’s desk drawer during an initial search with the consent of Cook. Police at the time were looking for women’s clothing, biological evidence including hair, sex toys, bedding, clothing, lube, condoms and photographs, according to court documents.
Investigators found the closed notebook in Cook’s drawer and took photos of its contents, including the list of women’s names. Officers did not seize the notebook at this time saying it was not within the scope of the consented search, according to court documents.
Investigators then went to a judge to get a search warrant for the permitted search and seizure of a black leather book with female names and any documents, notebooks, or other written material that tend to or may contain names of victims or targets, according to court documents.
The defense argues that the black leather notebook was read illegally, and should be excluded from evidence. Additionally, the defense argues that since the notebook lead to the warrant to seize all other journals, notebooks and documents, all of the evidence obtained because of the “illegal” reading of the black leather notebook should also be suppressed, according to court documents.
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