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War Machine’s lawyers look to strike deal with prosecutors


Lawyers for disgraced mixed martial artist War Machine, accused of brutally assaulting his former girlfriend, told a judge Wednesday they’re trying to make a deal with prosecutors.

The ex-Bellator MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, also known as Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, faces dozens of charges that could send him to prison for life. Prosecutors said he attacked adult film actress Christy Mack and her friend, Corey Thomas.

The 32-year-old was arrested after an Aug. 8 assault on Mack and Thomas, and prosecutors later added new charges stemming from incidents as far back as May 2013.

Mack and Thomas were attacked in her home near the Las Vegas National golf course after Koppenhaver burst inside and accused Mack of cheating on him, according to a police report.

On Wednesday, Koppenhaver’s California defense lawyer, Brandon Sua, asked Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Tobiasson for time to present prosecutors with “a plea deal to resolve the case … without further litigation and pretrial proceedings.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth said Mack and Thomas were ready to testify at a preliminary hearing slated for Friday.

But, she added, “the state is always willing to take into consideration any information the defense would like to present.”

Koppenhaver, who is in the Clark County Detention Center without bail, and refused to appear in court Wednesday.

In the meantime, Koppenhaver’s lawyers said they want to investigate the charges against him. His Nevada attorney, Brian Watkins, said at least a dozen of the charges stem from 15 months before Koppenhaver’s August arrest.

Tobiasson postponed Friday’s hearing and gave Koppenhaver’s lawyers another month to review the allegations.

Bluth was also quick to say that defense lawyers should not delay the case in an attempt to “ice the victim” or wait for memory of the attack and wounds to subside.

“It is not going to work,” Bluth said. “The victim is always going to be cooperative with us. Both victims in this case want to get this process going.”

Koppenhaver choked and punched Thomas for nearly 10 minutes before telling him to leave and not to call police, according to an arrest report. Mack dialed 911 while Thomas was being attacked and then hid the phone.

Koppenhaver then punched Mack as they went into a bathroom before he forced her to take a shower and threatened to rape her, according to the report.

She escaped and alerted neighbors, having suffered a fractured left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places.

Koppenhaver faces life in prison without parole on 32 counts, including attempted murder, sexual assault, battery, coercion, preventing or dissuading a witness or victim from reporting a crime, and first-degree kidnapping resulting in substantial bodily harm.

Since his arrest, Koppenhaver’s Twitter account has remained active, though it’s unclear who posts for Koppenhaver while he’s locked up.

Lately, the former welterweight fighter with a 14-5 MMA record has taken to poetry.

The most recent poem appeared on Twitter five days ago: “This is a nightmare/From which I can not wake./There’s too much pain,/It’s more than I can take.”

On the same day, Mack posted two selfies on Instagram, updating her condition. One image showed her with a bandage over her nose, the next without it. She had a bruise under her right eye.

She wrote: “What a difference a few days makes! I’m starting to breathe out of my nose again.”

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker.

 

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