Originally created 01/19/00

Cota, Newby case goes to mediation



CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina basketball players Ed Cota and Terrence Newby, accused of assault in a Halloween night brawl, will try to resolve their case through mediation.

The players' trial had been set for Wednesday but is no longer on the court docket.

Cota and Newby face misdemeanor charges and could have those charges dropped if the mediation is successful.

The first meeting at Orange County Dispute Settlement Center is scheduled for Wednesday, said William Blue, the players' lawyer. Center mediators will meet with the defendants and accusers.

"It's pretty typical for cases like this," Blue said. "The only thing surprising is that it hasn't happened sooner."

Cota, one of the best point guards in the nation, and Newby were charged with three counts each of assault inflicting serious injury and two counts of simple assault following the campus brawl.

Cota and Newby said they were trying to break up the fight. Two non-students also face misdemeanor assault charges.

Three students contend they were battered and one of them knocked unconscious.

The players were suspended from the basketball team following reports of the brawl, but coach Bill Guthridge reinstated them 10 days later.

Guthridge said Tuesday he and the players will not comment until the matter is resolved.