Former Canadian radio star Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal Thursday on multiple sexual-assault charges did not end the high-profile legal saga, with another trial set to begin in June.
Ontario Judge William Horkins acquitted Ghomeshi of four charges of sexual assault and one charge of “overcoming resistance by choking,” all of which allegedly occurred in 2002 and 2003. (Canadian law allows for jury trials, but Ghomeshi waived his right to one.) Prosecutors originally brought eight charges of sexual assault against Ghomeshi but dropped two of them in May 2015, citing a low likelihood of conviction. Another charge will be tried separately this summer.
The five charges in the first trial stemmed from allegations made by three women. Two of them are unidentified under Canadian laws shielding the identities of sexual-assault victims. The third, Lucy DeCoutere, is a well-known Canadian actress and Royal Canadian Air Force captain who went public with her story in 2014.
Ghomeshi was a well-known musician and host of Q, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship radio program, before his sudden firing in October 2014. Ghomeshi accused CBC of terminating him for his personal sex life and sued for $55 million. (He withdrew the lawsuit a month later and paid the broadcaster $18,000 in legal fees.) The same day, the Toronto Star published accounts from eight women, including DeCoutere, describing a pattern of abusive behavior toward them by Ghomeshi that ranged from sexual harassment to choking and hitting. Toronto police launched a criminal investigation, and prosecutors filed the first charges against him the following November.