Judge: Dantonio must sit for hours-long deposition, can wait until after season

By  | 

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WILX) -- A federal judge's ruling means Michigan State University head football coach Mark Dantonio will have to sit down for a deposition in a lawsuit filed against him by a former staffer.

The Detroit News reports a federal judge in Grand Rapids ruled Dantonio can wait until after the season ends to be deposed by attorneys for Curtis Blackwell.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody rejected Dantonio's attorneys request to limit the length and scope of his deposition.

Dantonio can be questioned for up to seven hours, according to the ruling.

No questions will be off limits, including ones about the recruitment of Auston Robertson.

In a deposition part of the lawsuit, Blackwell said Dantonio chose Robertson in 2016 over the objections of staff. He said it was widely known Robertson had a criminal history in Indiana and would be a controversial choice. Blackwell said he and others warned that Robertson would be a “horrible fit for a college campus.”

Robertson was kicked of the team after he was charged with sexually assaulting a woman in 2017. He later pleaded guilty and is serving a sentence of a decade in prison.

In November of 2018, Blackwell filed a lawsuit against Dantonio, former Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon, former Athletic Director Mark Hollis, and two Michigan State University Police detectives.

Blackwell is asking for up to $5.5 million from the detectives. At this time, it is unknown how much money he wants from the other defendants.

Blackwell claims in 2017 he was wrongfully arrested in sexual assault investigation that involves three former Spartan football players.

Those three players are Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance. They were kicked off the team for being charged with sexual assault for an incident that allegedly happened in January 2017.

The three plead guilty to reduced charges of seduction. They were sentenced to probation in 2018.

Blackwell was suspended shortly after the former players were charged.

Police wanted him charged with obstructing their investigation, but the Ingham County prosecutor did not file those charges.

Blackwell's contract was not renewed as Dantonio cited philosophical differences.

In his lawsuit, Blackwell claims MSU officials were 'feeling the heat' of the Larry Nassar scandal that rocked the university.

The judge's ruling also means Hollis and Simon must sit through a seven hour deposition as well.

The Detroit News reports Blackwell's attorneys want Dantonio deposed first.

Dantonio's deposition could happen as early as January, when the Spartans football season ends.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.