After a judge struck down a motion to dismiss four of the six recently introduced charges, University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook will be arraigned on all 21 counts of varying criminal charges.
At the moment, Cook faces 16 felonies and five misdemeanors against 10 women. His charges are as follows:
- Seven counts of second-degree sexual assault
- Three counts of third-degree sexual assault
- Two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault
- Two counts of strangulation and suffocation
- Two counts of false imprisonment
- Two counts of stalking
- Three counts of disorderly conduct
At the last bail hearing, Cook’s defense team, Christopher Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson, said they planned on filing a motion to dismiss some of the more recently introduced charges, particularly those related to disorderly conduct and stalking.
At the Friday morning motion hearing, however, Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn struck down the team’s motion to dismiss the four charges — two counts of stalking, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.
Nearly one month after being released from the Dane County Jail, Cook returned to Madison for his preliminary hearing Friday afternoon.
The preliminary hearing is meant to determine whether or not there is enough probable cause to charge the defendant and require them to stand trial.
In 2013, a new law enacted Wis. Stat. §970.038, which permits hearsay testimony to establish probable cause, meaning that police officers can testify on behalf of victims.
Madison Police Department detectives Tracie Jokala and Grant Humerickhouse, along with UW Police Department detective Carol Ann Kashishian, testified on behalf of the 10 victims.
Throughout the preliminary hearing, both Van Wagner and Nicholson pointed to their client’s full cooperation with the investigation, adding that he has not withheld any information from detectives since being arrested last October.
In addition to his cooperation, Van Wagner pointed to how Cook acted with the victim both prior to and after the alleged incidents. Particularly for the initial complainant, Van Wagner asked detectives “why she would text messages such as ‘LMAO’ to her alleged rapist?”
After four hours of testimony, Bailey-Rihn ruled Cook to be arraigned on all 21 counts.
Despite losing the motion to dismiss four charges and having to defend against all 21 counts, both Van Wagner and Nicholson said they didn’t feel the least bit defeated.
“I feel that today was the very tip of the iceberg in terms of showing some of the significant problems that are here with this case,” Nicholson said.
Saying she looks forward to defending it, Nicholson said she felt better walking out than she did walking in at the beginning of the day.
Along with Nicholson, Van Wagner said Cook said he can’t wait for trial.
Cook’s arraignment has not been set yet.