Dani Alves, juzgado
Dani Alves in front of a Spanish court during his sexual assault trial; the 40-year-old has been in pre-trial jail for more than a year Alberto Estevez/Pool Photo via AP

ALABAMA - Day two of Dani Alves' trial continued with new testimonies from witnesses that were at the Sutton Nightclub, in Barcelona, on December 30, 2022, the night the former Brazilian fullback allegedly sexually assaulted a woman.

Alves' trial, labelled in Spain as the "trial of the year", is the first high-profile sex crime trial since the Spanish parliament changed its legislation in 2022 to make consent a key determinant in any sexual assault crime. The bill, passed by the Spanish parliament in May 2022 and popularly known as the "only yes means yes", defines consent as an "explicit expression of a person's will, making it clear that silence or passivity do not equal consent.

If found guilty of having non-consensual sex with the woman, Dani Alves could face a sentence of up to 15 years. State prosecutors are seeking a nine-year prison sentence for Alves if convicted while the lawyers representing his accuser want 12 years.

What happened?

On December 30, 2022, Dani Alves allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at a local nightclub in Barcelona. According to testimonies, the Brazilian soccer player met the woman at a VIP area, where she had gone with a friend and her cousin. The woman then followed Alves to a private bathroom where he physically assaulted her, used insulting language and raped her.

The former Barcelona right back has been in pre-trial jail since January 2023. His requests to be released on bail have been rejected because the court considered him a flight risk. He was indicted on August 2023 by an investigative judge after the court found enough evidence to open a trial against the former Brazilian soccer player.

Since allegations surfaced all over media outlets and the internet, the former Barcelona star has denied any wrongdoing. He initially claimed he did not have any sexual contact with the woman, but then repeatedly modified his defense while in custody, admitting to a sexual encounter that he says was consented to by the accuser.

What's next?

Dani Alves is expected to testify in front of the Spanish court on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the final day of the three-day trial.

His is one of 28 testimonies of people linked to the case, including employees from the Sutton nightclub, friends and family of the victim and a testimony from Alves' exwife, Joana Sanz, who told the court Alves was "smelling of alcohol" when he arrived to their home outside Barcelona early in the morning of December 31, 2022. Sanz has not legally requested a divorce yet.

The court will reconvene on Feb. 7 for the last day of hearings, as Dani Alves awaits a sentence that could put him behind bars for quite some time. Under Spain's sexual consent law passed in 2022, sexual assault takes in a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different possible punishments. A case of rape can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.

The court also has ordered Alves to set aside 150,000 euros ($162,000) to pay his alleged victim if he is found guilty and ordered to pay damages.

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