A Genesee County Circuit Court jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about two hours before delivering four not-guilty verdicts Tuesday in a sexual assault case involving former Michigan State basketball star and NBA player Mateen Cleaves. Cleaves thanked jurors for “giving me my life back” after they acquitted him on all charges.
Cleaves was accused of raping a woman in a Flint-area motel room in 2015. Following the hearing, Cleaves said he has been “waiting for this moment for four years,” and that he “didn’t do anything wrong.”
One of the jurors, Michael Lambert, said they reached a verdict quickly because he and others didn’t believe Cleaves’ accuser. Cleaves could have been sentenced up to to 15 years in prison if he had been convicted of the charges of unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, and criminal sexual conduct.
Cleaves, a Flint native, led Michigan State to the 2000 NCAA championship. He went on to a professional basketball career with the Detroit Pistons, Sacremento Kings, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Seattle SuperSonics and several other teams. He now has a coaching career.