Former UW student accused in sex assaults asks judges to remove diaries as evidence

MADISON (WKOW) – A former UW-Madison student accused of sex assaults and stalking campus women has asked two judges to throw out his journals as evidence, and move his upcoming trials out of Dane County.

22-year old Alec Cook appeared Thursday in Dane County court for a hearing on his motion before two judges, because the more than twenty criminal charges against him are to be split up into several trials.  The charges involve nearly a dozen women, and incidents between 2014 and October 2016.

Madison Police detective Grant Humerickhouse testified he received Cook’s consent to search Cook’s downtown apartment in October 2016 as part of a sexual assault investigation.  Humerickhouse testified he prepared a search and seizure form itemizing what was being sought, including condoms and sex toys.  He said the list did not include journals, but noted the form also referred to items of a nature related to a sex assault investigation.

Humerickhouse said he discovered the journals in Cook’s night stand, and the items were not seized, but the contents photographed.  Assistant Attorney General Christopher Liegel said the journals included the names of women, and rankings of the women.  He said Cook was not deprived of the journals and the photographed contents should remain in evidence.

But Cook’s attorney Jessa Nicholson Goetz said other documents prepared by Humerickhouse indicated limits to what would be seized, and maintained Cook’s writings in the photographs should not be allowed.
 

Cook’s attorney Chris Van Wagner also argued an avalanche of coverage on Madison-area television stations and in the Wisconsin State Journal on Cook’s case necessitates moving the trials out of Dane County so an impartial jury can be found.  But Liegel countered news of the case has also been broadcast and published elsewhere in the state, and said reporting on the case was being overblown by Van Wagner.

Judges Stephen Ehlke and John Hyatt said they would issue written decision in the coming days on Cook’s requests.  He remains free on $100,000 bail and living in Minnesota.

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UPDATE: During a court hearing Nov. 30,  2017, attorneys for former UW-Madison student Alec Cook asked a judge to throw out his diaries as evidence.

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MADISON (WKOW) – Former UW-Madison student Alec Cook will face seven trials in connection.to accusations of sexual assaulting, stalking and harassing campus women.

Cook’s attorneys say they will seek to have those trials take place outside of Dane County because of pretrial publicity.

Prosecutors pushed for one trial to consider the more than 20 criminal charges against Cook involving 10 women, maintaining Cook had a scheme to victimize women. They said all the cases were related.

But in deciding to separate.all but one of the cases into six different trials, Judge Stephen Ehlke says he does not find "striking similarities" between all the cases. Ehlke grouped some of the charges together, but four trials will focus on a single charge. Another Dane County judge will preside over over a false imprisonment charge against Cook.

Cook’s first trial on that charge is scheduled for December.

Cook’s attorney Chris Van Wagner says the separation of the cases will help attempt to.ensure Cook receives fair trials.  

Van Wagner says the judge’s rejection of a.serial.pattern of behavior by Cook involving all his accusers exposes UW-Madison officials as.wrongheaded, in issuing campus bulletins involving Cook around the time.of Cook’s 2016 arrest.

"We responded with a simple statement to help our community understand the situation,"  UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone says, noting an October 2016 statement did not identify Cook by name as it announced "…the student has been arrested on multiple charges." 

"This is not ‘sensationalization,’ "  McGlone says.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Liegel declined comment after Friday’s court hearing.

Cook also declined comment to 27 News as he left court.  He remains free on $100,000 bail and is living in Minnesota.  Cook’s attorneys say he’s working.


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