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Judge will reevaluate change of venue request in former Baylor football player Shawn Oakman’s rape case

The motion for change of venue says media coverage around the 2016 Baylor Football sexual assault scandal and Jacob Anderson case creates a toxic environment where Shawn Oakman can't get a fair and impartial trial.
Credit: KCEN
Ex-Baylor football player appears in McLennan County court Feb. 1, 2019 for change of venue in sex assault case

WACO, Texas — A judge on Friday said he would reevaluate a motion for change of venue in the case of a former Baylor University football player accused of rape.

Shawn Oakman's attorney filed the motion to move the trial out of McLennan County stating Oakman can't get a fair and impartial trial because of publicity surrounding the Baylor football team's 2016 sexual assault scandal, according to the motion.

Prosecutors argued Oakman would have a better chance at a fair trial in McLennan County than anywhere else because the case's national coverage.

"There are jurors out there who may find they have an agenda to try to correct what they perceive the wrongs from the Jacob Anderson trial," Oakman's attorney Alan Bennett said. 

19th District Court Judge Ralph Strother emphasized in court Friday the need to form a jury and said, "the matter has been pending long enough. 

Oakman's attorney said Strother will reevaluate the motion based on questionnaires from the jury pool, which is expected to happen on Feb. 15.

Five hundred to 600 potential jurors have been summoned to fill out a  questionnaire.

RELATED: Shawn Oakman's attorney files motion to move trial out of McLennan County

Oakman was arrested in April 2016 after he was accused of raping a female Baylor student at his home near campus after a night out at a bar.

He was indicted on a second-degree felony sexual assault offense in July 2016.

RELATED: Shawn Oakman, indicted for sexual assault, signs with indoor football team

Attorney Alan Bennett said in court documents that media coverage of the recent Jacob Anderson case, where a former Baylor fraternity president charged with rape agreed to a plea deal with no jail time, also makes it difficult for a fair and impartial trial for Oakman to be held in McLennan County.

RELATED: Plea rejected: Former Baylor football player Shawn Oakman says he’s innocent of rape allegations

Oakman and three McLennan County attorneys submitted an affidavit to support the motion for change of venue.

In the affidavit, Oakman said he is fully aware of the allegations and accusations of sexual assault that led to the firing of Baylor’s head football head coach, Art Briles.

"I am also aware of the substantial coverage and negative publicity and commentary that exists surrounding the allegations against former Baylor student Jacob Anderson and his case," Oakman said in the affidavit.

RELATED: Former Baylor Standout Enters 'Not Guilty' Plea After Returning To Jail For Rape Case

Oakman’s trial is set to being Feb. 25 in McLennan County.

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