A rape case that has divided the football-mad town of Steubenville, Ohio, went to trial Wednesday after the defense won a battle to force the accuser's friends to testify.
Accusations that two Steubenville High School football stars used their hands to violate a drunken 16-year-old girl during a night of victory parties in August became national news because of graphic cellphone photos and video that spread on social media.
A YouTube video of a partygoer cracking crude jokes about the alleged rape -- made public by an offshoot of the hacker group Anonymous -- brought more attention and outrage.
Team quarterback Trent Mays and wide receiver Ma'Lik Richmond, who will stand trial in Jefferson County juvenile court, have denied the charges that they assaulted the girl in a car and in a basement while she was in a stupor and couldn't give consent.
Lawyers for both men withdrew motions to dismiss the case Wednesday after winning the battle on testimony from the accuser's friends, and Judge Thomas Lipps retired to his chambers to consider whether certain evidence will be admissible.
The girl -- who told police she didn't remember the incident -- will be one of dozens of witnesses taking the stand when the trial gets under way in earnest.
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