SAN FRANCISCO – Former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris has been charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges from an August beating involving a former boyfriend, a prosecutor and defense lawyer said.
Following a pretrial hearing in the case Monday, a San Mateo County judge set a late April trial date for Harris, an offensive tackle who played five seasons with the 49ers and one season with the Oakland Raiders, Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said.
The charges stem from an altercation outside a Menlo Park restaurant between Harris, 30, and Dimitri Geier, who suffered several facial fractures that required surgery, Serrato said.
Although a handful of former NFL players have come out as gay, none has while still wearing a uniform. Defense lawyer Alin Cintean said Harris, who played for Stanford before he was drafted by the 49ers in 2003 and has gone back to school to finish his undergraduate degree, identifies as gay, but "is not very public about it."
"He is a very private person. He doesn't like to talk about his personal life," he said.
Prosecutors are pursuing the domestic violence charge because the two men used to live together and had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship, Serrato said.
"Whenever we move forward with charges, it's because we believe the evidence is sufficient," Serrato said. "Certainly the injuries are consistent with a serious assault."
Harris has pleaded not guilty and posted $75,000 bail after his arrest, Cintean said. Harris acknowledges he and Geier once were a couple, but says he struck Geier in self-defense, Cintean said.
"Mr. Geier first assaulted my client, and my client had a reasonable response to being assaulted," he said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Geier is the one who ended up with an injury."
News of the charges was reported first Monday by the San Mateo Daily Journal.