KU football player Pooka Williams applies for diversion in domestic battery case
photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Updated 9:40 a.m. Wednesday
University of Kansas star football player Pooka Williams has applied for a diversion of the domestic battery charge he is facing, his attorney Hatem B. Chahine said Wednesday morning, and the court has granted his request.
The terms of the diversion were not available Wednesday morning.
Williams appeared in court Wednesday morning. At the hearing, the court scheduled him to appear on Feb. 13 in the event that the diversion does not go through.
“If diversion is approved, and we decide to do it, there won’t be any more court,” Chahine said. “It would keep a conviction off his record.”
A diversion is a process whereby someone accused of a crime is “diverted” from the usual legal procedures and instead completes the terms of an agreement, which may include some sort of rehabilitation program or fine. If the program is successfully completed, the criminal charges are dropped.
The charge stems from a Dec. 5 incident in which Williams, 19, whose full name is Anthony Ray Williams, is accused of punching an 18-year-old KU student in the stomach.
On Dec. 6, the woman in the case told a KU police officer that Williams punched her in the stomach and grabbed her throat around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5 when they were at Stouffer Place Apartments, 1835 Ousdahl Road, according to an affidavit.
During the interview, the officer found the woman had bruises on her arms and side, according to the affidavit. She also showed the officer text messages from Williams in which he admitted to punching her in the arms.
The officer interviewed Williams, who reportedly said that he pushed the woman when he saw her in a room with other men at the apartment building. Both Williams and the woman said they were in an intimate relationship.
KU police arrested Williams at the KU Public Safety Office, 1501 Crestline Drive, and he was booked into jail at 3 p.m. Dec. 6.
Williams spent the night in jail and made his first court appearance Dec. 7 in Douglas County District Court. He was formally charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor.
Chahine entered a not guilty plea on Williams’ behalf. A prosecutor said Williams did not have any criminal history.
Judge James T. George set a $1,000 bond for Williams and ordered him to not make contact with the victim or return to her residence.
KU football coach Les Miles said on Dec. 7 that he was aware of a reported incident involving Williams.
“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” Miles said. “We have suspended Pooka from all team-related activities pending further investigation.”
Williams is a freshman running back from New Orleans who arguably became the face of the team during the 2018 season, winning several weekly and seasonlong awards for his performance on the field.
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to correct a time that had been misstated by police in their arrest affidavit. The incident at Stouffer Place Apartments occured at 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5, 2018, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.