Testimony begins in Marshall trial

Updated: August 13, 2009, 7:47 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- An ex-girlfriend of Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall told a jury on Thursday that the player shoved her, threw her around and gave her a bloody lip after she received a text message from a male friend.

Marshall was on trial for a misdemeanor battery charge in the March 4, 2008, dispute with Rasheedah Watley at the Atlanta condominium they shared. Marshall was suspended for last year's season opener after a series of domestic conflicts. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said a conviction in this case could lead to a second suspension.

Prosecutor Robert Bembridge opened by saying evidence would show Marshall "did use his hands for all the wrong reasons" on a woman he outweighs by more than 100 pounds.

Defense lawyer Harvey Steinberg characterized Watley as an aggressive woman who was afraid her relationship with Marshall was ending and saw it as a "lottery ticket that was going to be lost."

Watley told a jury of four women and two men that Marshall shoved her into furniture in the condo's living room, carried her over his shoulder into the bedroom, threw her on the bed more than once and hit her in the lip.

Her two younger sisters arrived soon after receiving calls from a jealous Marshall trying to figure out who gave Watley's number to the friend, Watley said. They feared for their sister because the couple had a history of violent fights, she added.

Watley's sisters, Adilah and Alliyah, testified that Marshall physically intimidated them when they arrived.

A police officer testified that he came upon Marshall outside the condo with a bloody hand and Watley inside, looking "extremely disheveled" with a bloody lip.

Steinberg showed the jury photos of a bite mark on Marshall's back and a photo of his eye that was scratched after Watley poked him. Watley acknowledged biting and scratching Marshall, but said she did it to get away from him.

Steinberg also said Watley is motivated by money and had a lawyer send a letter asking Marshall for $500,000 to make the matter go away quietly. Watley said she's not seeking money and that her lawyer sent the letter without her knowledge and she fired him as a result.

It's not the first time Marshall had faced domestic violence charges involving Watley. Previously, Marshall was arrested after Watley said he used his vehicle to block her taxi as she tried to leave after an argument at his home in Highlands Ranch, Colo., in March 2007. The case was dismissed.

He pleaded guilty last September to driving while ability-impaired and was sentenced to a year of probation. He was originally charged with driving under the influence after an October 2007 arrest.

Marshall, recuperating from hip surgery last spring, has asked to be traded from the Broncos.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press