PARK CITY (AP) — Olympic gold-medal skier Picabo Street is headed for a May trial on misdemeanor domestic violence charges after her lawyer said Tuesday she turned down a plea deal in the Utah case.
Street was defending herself from her combative 76-year-old father and expects to be cleared of the charges at trial, defense attorney Joe Wrona said.
He pushed to have a judge instead of a jury decide the case so it could come to trial more quickly.
“Picabo really didn’t have a choice on the morning in question,” Wrona said. “She had to take the action that she took.”
Street, 44, appeared in the Park City, Utah, court but did not speak during the hearing or to reporters. Her trial is set for May 3.
Prosecutors contend she started the Dec. 23 fight that left cuts on Roland Street’s elbow and neck. He told police his daughter started yelling after he hit her house while trying to drive away in snowy weather, and that the physical fight broke out after they went back inside.
He has not been charged.
Picabo Street turned down a type of plea deal commonly offered to first-time offenders that would have cleared her record if she had completed certain conditions such as treatment and staying out of trouble, prosecutor Robert Hilder said.
During the hearing, he asked the judge to order that public statements about the high-profile case remain civil.
Judge Shauna Kerr told both sides to be on good behavior. “This case will be tried in this court, not in the media,” she said.
Picabo Street is accused of throwing her father down two flights of stairs and locking him in a basement during the fight at her home near Park City.
She told 911 dispatchers that she “put” her dad down the stairs after he pulled her hair and scratched her face, according to a recording of the call. Her mother can be heard in the background disputing that version of what happened.
Wrona says the skier cares for her aging parents as well as her own children and called 911 for help that day.
Picabo Street remains free on bail. She is facing three counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in the presence of a child and one count of misdemeanor assault. If convicted, she could face up to six months in jail on each count.
Street had an illustrious skiing career highlighted by a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, in the women’s super-G event. She also won silver in the downhill at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and competed in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
She worked as an analyst for Fox Sports during the 2014 Winter Games from Sochi, Russia.
Reported by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press
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