Judges grant motion to move Cook’s trial out of Dane County

Judges grant motion to move Cook’s trial out of Dane County

Two Dane County judges granted a motion to move former UW-Madison student Alec Cook’s trial out of Dane County Friday, according to court documents.

Cook, 21, is facing 21, charges including felony sexual assault and strangulation, in connection with incidents between September 2014 and October 2016.

The judges said they believe there is a “reasonable likelihood of community prejudice” in this case, and that is why they granted a rare change of venue.

Cook was in Dane County court in Madison Thursday afternoon for oral arguments in front of Judges John Hyland and Stephen Ehlke regarding two defense motions, police said.

Judges grant motion to move Cook’s trial out of Dane County

Cook and his attorneys, Christopher Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson, asked a judge to throw out a notebook found in his apartment as evidence. The book allegedly lists names of women and what he wanted to do to them.

In court Thursday, the detective who searched Cook’s home in October described the way in which the rigid, leather-bound journal was discovered while searching for other items outlined in a consent form, which was reviewed with Cook’s attorneys and signed.

The prosecutor argued the discovery of what was written in the journal was in keeping with what was outlined in the form. Nicholson said the defense argued that the nature of the search didn’t reasonably include a search of the diary.

Cook’s attorneys also argued that the trial should be moved because news coverage of the case in Dane County has tainted any potential jurors, but the prosecutor said that problem is not limited to Dane County and the story has been widely covered statewide.