Dani Alves indicted on sexual assault charge

BARCELONA — Former Barcelona and Brazil defender Dani Alves was formally indicted on Wednesday on charges of sexual assault of a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in December, and his lawyer said the player would not slow the process down by appealing against the indictment.

The judge said she had found evidence of wrongdoing by the 40-year-old player, who says he had consensual sex with the woman.

Alves was arrested on Jan. 20 and has been held in a prison outside Barcelona without bail. If found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of four to 15 years.

“Dani Alves is upset with the narrative of the facts … he disagrees with it,” Alves’ lawyer, Cristobal Martell, told reporters minutes after his client appeared before the Barcelona court.

“He has also said that he will not appeal due to his desire to expedite the judicial process,” Martell added.

The prosecution must now submit formal charges to the court, while the defence will present its allegations in writing. After that, a date for the start of a trial will be set.

Alves is expected to remain in custody awaiting the trial. His bail requests have been denied because he is considered a flight risk. The player had offered to turn in his passports and wear a tracking device.

A judge ordered Alves to be jailed after analyzing the initial probe by authorities and hearing testimony from the woman, witnesses and Alves.

Alves’ lawyers unsuccessfully tried to discredit testimony by the woman and other witnesses by presenting security camera footage at the nightclub. The court has said that any flirting should not “in any way justify an eventual sexual assault.”

Under Spain’s sexual consent law passed last year, 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.

Alves won 42 titles during his career, including three Champions Leagues with Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil. He played in his third World Cup last year in Qatar.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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