MADISON, Wis. - A juror who helped decide the not guilty verdict in former Badger football player Quintez Cephus’ criminal trial is sharing insight into that conclusion.
"It was quick and it was unanimous right off the bat,” juror Kelly Engsberg said. “There was little to no question of whether or not we were all on the same page."
In early August, Cephus was found not guilty of sexually assaulting two young women.
Before being chosen to sit in the jury for Cephus' trial, Engsberg had no idea who the former Badger wide receiver was, but as she listened to the state and defense present their cases over the weeklong trial, she had the weight of being one of 12 jurors who held his fate in their hands.
"Twelve completely different individuals, takes on what was heard, what was seen. You're thinking to yourself, are we going to be able to come to a conclusion together?" she said, adding that it’s not a task they took lightly. While the decision was quick, she said the process was thorough.
"Every single person was thoughtful, taking notes, listening intently all week long,” Engsberg said.
She believes many pieces of evidence added up to form the jury's not guilty conclusion, but surveillance video of the night shown by the defense stands out as the most persuasive.
"The state has this burden to prove it to us beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said. “They just didn't meet that."
Engsberg said during the trial, the #Me Too movement was certainly in her mind, but so was her duty.
"I am a 100% supporter of #Me Too,” she said. “It's our job as a society, my job as a juror, to really dig deep and look for the truth and to try to figure out truly if a crime occurred.”
It's still unclear whether Cephus will be able to return to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as the university reviews his petition for readmission.
In a statement Thursday, UW said it must complete a thorough review prior to making a decision in cases like this, which often includes interviewing witnesses and “reviewing significant numbers of documents and other evidence that is available.”
The university also stressed that its student disciplinary process is separate from the legal process in a criminal court.
"Our disciplinary process, like those of universities across the country, follow processes that are required by federal law and regulations. They use different standards and timelines than are used in criminal cases,” the statement said. “And, like all universities, we are bound by federal student privacy law that limits what we can say about any particular student situation unless the student gives us permission to share more information."
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