The controversial trial of Wharton sophomore Dante Benitez and College sophomore Ivan Loginov took a new turn on Sept. 18.
Both Benitez and Loginov are being charged for assaulting Wharton sophomore Max Arias, who suffered multiple fractures and a concussion from the altercation on April 8. The two men were subpoenaed to appear together for a hearing in Philadelphia's Municipal Court Criminal Division at the Criminal Justice Center on Sept. 18, but left by noon that same day.
Benitez and his lawyer, James Funt, have alleged that Benitez and Loginov were acting to defend a female friend from potential sexual assault. Their claims have ignited public interest into the hazy details of what happened that April night.
Moving forward, Benitez and Loginov will continue on different legal routes.
At the trial, Benitez's legal team requested a continuance of further investigation, meaning that the trial would be rescheduled for a later date to permit for further examination of the facts of the case. A courthouse clerk who received the trial report said Benitez and his lawyer may have requested a continuance as new evidence might come to light during the new period of discovery.
Meanwhile, Loginov, who is a Russian citizen, requested a continuance pending program rather than go to full criminal trial. A courthouse clerk who was present at the trial said Benitez was not eligible for participation in this program. He will have his next trial hearing on Dec. 12.
Loginov was approved for the Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion program, which is available to first-time offenders at the authorization of the presiding district attorney.
Defendants participating in the ARD program must agree to comply with a set of conditions that allow them to avoid jail time by serving probation for an agreed-upon period of time, which in Pennsylvania, cannot exceed two years. If they complete their sentence without violations, they may have the opportunity to expunge their record.
Defendants do not have to plead guilty to benefit from ARD.
The specifics of Loginov’s program should be delineated by the presiding judge on Oct. 4.
The prosecutor also returned Loginov's passport.
According to a courthouse clerk, the defendants also requested different processes of discovery, a pre-trial procedure where both parties can review evidence via interrogations, request for production of documents or request admissions and depositions.
The Commonwealth requested a reciprocal discovery, which if granted, would allow them to review the evidence of the defense, just as the defense reviews theirs. All pieces of discovery are due on Oct. 18 for the defendants.
Loginov’s attorney Brian McMonagle was one of Bill Cosby’s attorneys in the sexual assault case that was declared a mistrial this past June. Benitez’s attorney James Funt earned his J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law and worked as a trial attorney with the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
Benitez and Loginov initially faced first-degree felony counts of aggravated assault and burglary and a second-degree felony count of criminal trespassing into a structure. These charge were dismissed for lack of evidence at the preliminary hearing on Aug. 17. Both are on interim suspension and banned from campus.
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