Former KU basketball player Silvio De Sousa no longer pursuing diversion; aggravated battery case now scheduled for preliminary hearing

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa watches from the bench during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former University of Kansas basketball player Silvio De Sousa will not get a diversion for an aggravated battery charge he is facing because negotiations with prosecutors have “fallen through,” his attorney, Hatem Chahine, said Wednesday in Douglas County District Court.

De Sousa was seeking a diversion for the felony charge that stems from a 2020 incident outside a bar in downtown Lawrence in which he was accused of hitting a man who later lost vision in his eye.

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 could be dropped.

De Sousa originally applied for diversion in the case in January, but Chahine told Judge Sally Pokorny Wednesday that the negotiations with prosecutors had not resulted in an agreement. Chahine told the Journal-World after the hearing that De Sousa therefore was no longer pursuing diversion.

The case will now go to a preliminary hearing, where the judge will determine if enough evidence exists to bind De Sousa over for trial. Chahine said he planned to have two or three witnesses testify at the hearing, which is scheduled for May 4.

As the Journal-World previously reported, the probable-cause affidavit supporting the charge alleged that De Sousa struck a man who told him to “shut the (expletive) up” around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2020, outside Brothers Bar and Grill, 1105 Massachusetts St. Despite multiple surgeries, the man lost vision in one eye after the altercation, according to the affidavit.

De Sousa, speaking with police on Oct. 15, reportedly said that while he and his friends were waiting for an Uber ride outside the bar, a man had become “verbally abusive” to one of De Sousa’s friends.

De Sousa reportedly said he had “swatted” at the man but missed him the first time, then did it again and struck him in his cheek. He told the detectives that the man did not fall when he was struck and that when he left the man wasn’t bleeding, according to the affidavit.

Detectives told De Sousa that other witness accounts contradicted his statement; he said nothing further after that, according to the affidavit.

Allegations in affidavits have not been proved in court, and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless they are convicted.

As the Journal-World has reported, De Sousa announced his decision to leave the KU basketball team for “personal reasons” on Oct. 16, 2020.

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