Former ESPN personality Jay Mariotti to stand trial on stalking and assault charges
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that former ESPN sports personality Jay Mariotti must stand trial on felony stalking and assault charges in connection with allegations leveled by his ex-girlfriend.
Judge Mark Windham ruled that there was enough evidence to hold Mariotti to answer on charges that include stalking, corporal injury on a spouse or domestic partner, and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
Mariotti, who faces up to five years in state prison if convicted on all counts, has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well as to two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order.
Attorney Shawn Holley, who is representing Mariotti, said she brought two witnesses to court who were prepared to testify that the allegations against her client were "meritless and inconsistent with the physical evidence in the case."
Prosecutors contend that Mariotti confronted his ex-girlfriend the same day a court ordered him to stay away from her. In addition, they say he argued with his former girlfriend again outside a Venice restaurant April 15. He allegedly pulled a chunk of her hair out and grabbed her cellphone while shouting at her, prosecutors said.
During the preliminary hearing, Mariotti's ex-girlfriend was questioned about her claim that her hair had been pulled out. On cross-examination by Holley, she acknowledged it was hair extensions that had been pulled out.
Mariotti remains on probation in connection with a misdemeanor domestic-violence case from August 2010. In that case he pleaded no contest, and six other misdemeanor counts -- four domestic-violence-related counts as well as charges of grand theft and false imprisonment -- were dismissed.
Mariotti, a former sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, appeared frequently on ESPN's "Around the Horn." He has not contributed to ESPN since his first arrest.
-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter: @anblanx)
Photo: Jay Mariotti, top right, appears on ESPN's "Around the Horn." Credit: ESPN