Former junior middleweight world titleholder Jermell Charlo was acquitted in a Dallas courtroom Wednesday of two counts of domestic violence against his former girlfriend.
The Houston resident, who trains in Dallas, was arrested in May for allegedly trying to choke his then-girlfriend, Jazmyne Olison, pulling her hair and forcing her against a fence and to the ground.
After hearing testimony, including from Olison, during the trial Tuesday and Wednesday, the 12-person jury found Charlo, who did not testify, not guilty after about three hours of deliberation, Arnold Joseph, one of Charlo’s attorneys, told ESPN. Charlo faced a prison sentence of three to 10 years had he been convicted.
“I can’t express how happy and relieved I am to be acquitted of these very serious charges,” Charlo said in a statement given to ESPN. “I was accused of choking and striking a woman, which is a horrible crime that I didn’t commit. I am grateful to my legal defense team, especially my lawyer Mike Howard, for the wonderful job they did for me.
“This case, and the fear of losing my freedom and livelihood, has hung over me like a dark cloud for almost a year. I couldn’t really focus on my training and I couldn’t leave the United States to pursue various business opportunities. I couldn’t even register as a trainer.”
Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs), 28, boxed twice while the case was going on. He outpointed former titlist Austin Trout in a title defense June 9, shortly after he had been charged, and then lost a controversial unanimous decision and his 154-pound title belt to Tony Harrison on Dec. 22.
“He fought two fights with this case hanging over his head, in his training camps and in the fights,” Joseph said. “He is very relieved this is over.”
Joseph said that Charlo was offered a plea deal that would have given him probation and “what would amount to disorderly conduct, but he was adamant that he didn’t do what she accused him of doing so he couldn’t in good conscience take the offer.”
Said Charlo: “I was offered a plea deal that I could not in good conscience accept because I wasn’t guilty. I’m happy that the jury did its job and I want to thank them for that. I also want to let the world know that ‘Iron Man’ is back!”
Joseph said Olison has a civil suit pending against Charlo, who is likely to face Harrison in a rematch in June.