STEUBENVILLE -- A closely watched rape trial involving two high school football players in Steubenville is underway.
Shortly after the proceeding opened, the courtroom was adjourned so that the prosecution and defense attorneys could meet with the judge behind closed doors to determine what evidence is admissable. The judge told the packed courtroom the meeting in chambers should take about an hour. The trial already had started half an hour late after the judge gave extra time for out-of-town attorneys and witnesses to arrive.
Meanwhile, silent protesters wearing 'anonymous masks' and carrying signs in support of the victim and demanding the teen suspects be punished are lining the street outside the Jefferson County Courthouse.
The alleged victim and two other witnesses from West Virginia are now expected to testify after the judge reversed an earlier ruling rejecting requests that the three teens take the stand. As a result of the reversed ruling, the defense withdrew its motion to have the case dismissed. The original motion asked that the case be dropped because material witnesses were not willing to come to court.
The juveniles' testimony is expected to bolster the players' defense against the charges.
Defendants Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, both football players, appeared in court with starched shirts and suits with little expression on their faces. The alleged victim is not in the courthouse.
Investigators say the two teens are accused of repeatedly assaulting the intoxicated 16 year old girl at a party last August.
The case is expected to last through the weekend.
This case has garnered worldwide attention. Journalists representing media outlasts as far away as Great Britain are covering the court proceeding.