City News Service
TORRANCE (CNS/FOX 11) - The wife of Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov could be held in contempt of court if she refuses to testify in the pending domestic violence case against the hockey player, a judge ruled Monday.
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But Superior Court Judge Eric Taylor said he would be willing to allow Marta Varlamova to undergo domestic violence counseling before she takes the stand.
Varlamova's attorney, Michael J. Walsh, told the judge at an April 1 hearing that his client did not want to testify in her husband's case. In a court filing, Walsh wrote that Varlamova is concerned about her privacy and the trauma of testifying against her husband. Walsh argued in a later court filing that the law is intended to protect alleged victims of domestic violence from being forced to testify.
Given the judge's comments regarding a possible contempt ruling, Walsh met privately with Varlamova and later announced that she was willing to undergo the counseling, which would be provided by the National Hockey League Players' Association. It's unclear when that counseling might occur.
Taylor said during Monday's hearing that he did not want to find Varlamova in contempt, and asked if there was anything the court could to to encourage her to testify. The judge allowed her to remain in court while other witnesses testified about comments she made at the hospital where she was treated following the alleged assault by her husband.
Deputy District Attorney Frank Dunnick wrote in an earlier court filing that the prosecution is not asking for the court to jail Voynov's wife for refusing to testify.
"The people simply ask the court to exercise all available powers to have a properly subpoenaed witness testify,'' the prosecutor wrote in his filing, which asked the judge to order her to give her testimony in private and to find her in contempt if she refuses.
Voynov, who is from Russia, is charged with a felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury. He is accused of punching his wife at a Halloween party and later kicking and choking her at their Redondo Beach home last October. Police had initially responded to the couple's residence and found nobody home, but later were called to Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, where his wife was being treated.
At a Dec. 15 hearing in which Voynov was ordered to stand trial, Redondo Beach police Officer Gregory Wiist testified that Varlamova told him she had been in a fight with her husband that began at a Halloween party the night of Oct. 19. When the couple went outside, Voynov allegedly punched her in the face, according to Wiist.
The woman told the officer that the couple went home, where the argument continued, and Voynov threw her to the ground multiple times, repeatedly kicked her and choked her three times. Varlamova also said her husband pushed her into a flat-screen television on the wall, and her face struck the corner of it, Wiist said.
She said the attack continued until Voynov saw the blood coming from her face, according to Wiist. He said that according to Varlamova, she asked Voynov to call for "emergency services,'' but he instead called a friend and then drove her to the hospital.
The injury to Varlamova's eye required eight stitches, Wiist said.
Voynov has been suspended by the NHL pending the outcome of the criminal case.
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