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Former BYU Player Asks to Withdraw Guilty Plea



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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A former Brigham Young football player who pleaded guilty to reduced charges in an alleged rape is trying to withdraw his plea, which could carry a 20-year prison sentence.

A sentencing hearing for Karland Bennett was postponed Tuesday as the defense and prosecutors tried to figure out what to do about a plea agreement reached nearly two months ago.

Two other former BYU players -- B.J. Mathis and Ibrahim Rashada -- were acquitted in a trial last month. Bennett testified during the trial as part of his agreement to plead guilty to second-degree felony obstruction of justice and a third-degree felony count of dealing in harmful material to a minor.

Bennett's new sentencing date is Dec. 6. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Defense attorney Greg Skordas has filed a motion asking to withdraw Bennett's guilty pleas. He said his client should not be punished for a crime that a jury said could not be proved.

Deputy Utah County Attorney Donna Kelly felt the jury reached the wrong verdict, "but the question of what to do with Bennett now is a whole different issue."

Bennett was initially one of four players charged with aggravated sexual assault after a 17-year-old Sandy girl accused them of raping her at an off-campus apartment in August 2004.

Bennett admitted to agreeing with the other players to lie to police and BYU Honor Code investigators. But Bennett insisted the sex acts at his apartment that night appeared to be consensual.

A fourth former player, William Turner Jr., is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 8 in juvenile court. His case was moved to juvenile court because he was 17 when the alleged attack took place.

The girl told police she met a group of players at a mall, then drove down to meet them at the apartment later. She said she was attacked by three, possibly four, men after she passed out from drinking vodka and went to a bedroom to lie down.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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