MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There is new evidence in the assault case against former Gopher quarterback Philip Nelson.
A forensic expert says it’s unclear if Nelson contributed to Mankato football star Isaac Kolstad’s brain injury.
Surveillance video shows what happened outside a Mankato bar on May 11.
Kolstaad was allegedly punched by Trevor Shelley, fell to the ground and then kicked in the head by Philip Nelson.
According to police, Nelson thought Kolstad had flirted with his girlfriend earlier in that night.
Nelson’s attorney filed new documents Friday that say it was the punch, not Nelson’s kick that caused Kolstad’s brain damage.
For the last eight months, there’s been no debate that what happened outside a Mankato bar on May 11 left Kolstad with significant brain damage.
But what prosecutors are trying to figure out is if it was the punch, the fall to the pavement or the final kick that changed Kolstad’s life forever.
Nelson’s defense team says if they can’t prove it was the kick by his client, he wants the felony charges thrown out.
“This thing has put Philip in a limbo since May,” Jim Fleming, Nelson’s attorney, said.
The documents were filed Friday in Blue Earth County Court.
Forensic pathologist Michael McGee said he felt it was “the initial punch” allegedly thrown by Shelley and the subsequent fall to the ground, not Nelson’s kick that caused the most significant injuries.
“My overall impression of the case is that the majority, and possibly all, of the injuries described in Mr. Kolstad are related to the initial punch and subsequent fall to the street surface,” McGee said.
A finding that Kolstad’s attorney said he found, “disappointing.”
“My client’s belief is that Mr. Nelson’s conduct substantially contributed to Isaac’s current condition, and he should be held accountable for that,” Ken White, Kolstad’s attorney, said.
“They have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt and they can’t meet that burden. It’s not going to happen,” Fleming ssaid.
Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott says he hasn’t ruled out any options, including lowering or dismissing the charges or just keeping them the same.
Nelson faces two felony assault charges.
If convicted he would face 20 years in prison and a 30 thousand dollar fine.
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