Former University football walk-on Mike Milano was acquitted of felony assault charges Thursday, but a Washtenaw County jury convicted him of aggravated assault, according to annarbor.com.
Milano, who has since graduated from the University, could face up to one year in jail on the misdemeanor conviction. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 3.
But according to an annarbor.com article, Circuit Judge David Swartz said he thinks Milano is innocent on both assault charges.
“For what it’s worth, I’d find the defendant not guilty and recommend that you file for an order to have it expunged, which I’ll be pleased to sign,” Swartz said after dismissing the jury, according to the article.
Milano’s defense attorney John Shea said they have not made any decisions at this time on what they will do next, and that his client has mixed feeling about the result.
“Mike is grateful they acquitted him of the felony, but he is disappointed that they convicted him of the misdemeanor,” Shea told The Michigan Daily. “He continues to believe that he did the right thing that night.”
The charges stem from an Oct. 12, 2008 incident between Milano and University hockey player Steve Kampfer.
During the four-day trial, the jury heard testimony from 18 different witnesses, according to the article, including eyewitnesses, wrestling coach Joe McFarland and former head football coach Lloyd Carr.
Kampfer, who testified that he did not remember much of the assault, said that he had been drinking that night, celebrating a win after his team’s season opener. He said he met his ex-girlfriend at a bar and that the two got into an argument. He said he was not threatening to her, but grabbed her wrist at one point in the argument to keep her from walking away.
Milano also took the stand during the trial. He testified that he confronted Kampfer that night because he was being rough with a woman at the bar.
Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Paul Barnett said, according to annarbor.com, that the argument appeared to be over until Kampfer turned to get in one final word. The physical confrontation followed.
According to a Jan. 29, 2009 article in the Daily, a witness to the event described seeing someone pick up another man and throw him to the ground.
During the trial, McFarland, who used to coach Milano on the wrestling team, said Milano’s takedown of Kampfer sounded to be a standard wrestling maneuver that Milano has performed many times before, both in practice and in competition.
The Daily is still waiting to hear back from the Athletic Department to comment on the matter.