BIXBY, Okla. -- Defense attorneys in the Bixby football players' sexual assault case are asking for the prosecutors to be disqualified.
The motion filed by the four defendants' attorneys cite conflicts of interest within the District 12 Office of Oklahoma District Attorneys.
District Attorney Matthew Ballard's office was assigned the case out of Tulsa County by the Attorney General's Office.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler recused his office because someone close to the case worked in the office.
The defense attorneys declined to speak about the motion because it is pending.
Ballard's Office issued the following statement:
Fighting for justice with integrity and standing up for the rights of crime victims are sacrosanct missions in my office.
While my office cannot comment regarding ongoing criminal cases it is my duty to be the voice for victims.
The attorneys who filed the motion to disqualify my office from prosecuting their four clients for 2nd degree rape of a juvenile have
chosen to all but use the victim’s name to identify him in their document.
This follows last week’s media conference where they repeatedly used victim blaming and shaming in an attempt to somehow excuse
their client’s behavior by claiming rape culture is the norm. That is what is alarming here, not their misstatements about what
creates a conflict sufficient to disqualify my office.
To claim my past work, completely unrelated to the criminal case at hand, disqualifies me defies reason and the law.
Under the law the defendants are presumed innocent and I look forward to trying this case in a courtroom and fulfilling the
commitment I made when the Attorney General appointed me to prosecute the case.
We’ll file a response to the motion within 15 days.
Rape by instrumentation charges were filed against Samuel Isaiah Lakin, 17, William Thomas, 17, Colton Cable, 17, and Joe Wood, 16.
The football players were accused of assaulting a 16-year-old teammate in the case. An affidavit said the alleged victim told investigators it happened at a team function in late September at the home of Bixby's former superintendent, Kyle Wood