Former Barcelona, Sevilla, and Brazil defender Dani Alves appeared in court today as the first day of his trial began. The 40-year-old is facing accusations of rape and has spent the past year in prison awaiting his trial, under custody as a potential flight risk.
According to MD, Alves is set to testify last in the case, which includes 28 witnesses, including his wife Joana Sanz, who separated from him after the scandal broke.
Alves’ lawyer stated that her client has a negative bank balance of €20k and a legal embargo on €50k worth of assets, although Marca reports his fortune to be around €55m.
The defence argued that Alves did not have the right to a fair and equal trial. They claimed that Alves was not tested for alcohol and other drugs, which could have been considered as an extenuating circumstance to potentially reduce his sentence. Additionally, they argued that the public trial via the media had portrayed Alves unfairly as an aggressive rapist without reporting all the facts. They also stated that Alves only gave two testimonies regarding the events of the incident, contrary to the five reported publicly.
The prosecution dismissed claims of Alves having money trouble and defended that Alves, as the only public figure involved, had been afforded all the same rights as any other person. The judge rejected the request for the trial to be delayed or thrown out.
If Alves is convicted of rape, he could face a sentence of between 9 and 12 years, as well as being required to pay compensation of €150k to the victim.