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Four bottles of wine, one of whiskey, plus gin-and-tonics. That's what former FC Barcelona star Dani Alves and three friends drank on the night of December 30th, 2022, before arriving at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona. This was corroborated by Bruno, the friend who went with the Brazilian footballer to the club, and the other two friends, in the second session of a trial that began on Monday, before the Barcelona Audience criminal court, this Tuesday afternoon. The questions were asked by Alves' defence lawyer, Inés Guardiola. Even Dani Alves's wife, Joana Sanz, who also testified this Tuesday, declared that that night "he was very drunk" and that they didn't talk about anything. At the end of the hearing, Sanz left the court accompanied by the player's mother and relatives (in the main photo).

The defence strategy is clear: ask for the footballer's acquittal and, alternatively, a reduction in the sentence for sexual aggression through the application of the mitigating factor of his inebriated state. The footballer, who has been in preventive prison since January 20th, 2023, faces a demand of 12 years' prison, from the private prosecution conducted by the victim's lawyer, while the public prosecution calls for a nine-year jail sentence.

No blood-alcohol test

The police did not carry out a blood-alcohol test on Dani Alves because they did not arrest him that night, as his lawyer complained on the first day of the trial, denouncing the violation of his rights. Alves left for Mexico, but when a family lawyer heard the news of the case, Alves was advised to return to Barcelona, and the Mossos arrested him in that lawyer's office on January 20th, 2023, as confirmed by the head of the Catalan police force's sexual violence investigation area.

Contradictions in friend's narrative 

Alves's friend Bruno, who testified with a Brazilian interpreter, told the court that he was the one who, without instructions from the footballer, told the nightclub waiter to invite the three young women to go into the private lounge with them.

To questions from the prosecutor, Bruno confirmed that Alves and the victim were dancing together, and that the woman entered the small bathroom behind the Brazilian. Bruno explained that he stayed with her friend talking and dancing. To questions from the defence lawyer, Inés Guardiola, Bruno stressed that Alves had drunk a lot that night.

"What did Mr Alves do when he left the bathroom?" the prosecutor asked him - and insistently, in the face of the initial unclear explanation by Bruno, who said that Alves left with him and the other young women. And on the way out of the nightclub, despite passing by the women, Bruno assured that he didn't see the complainant crying, and didn't see them at all, because "it's a dark corridor".

The victim's lawyer, Ester Garcia, put it to him that he had changed his version, since in an earlier hearing he had said that Alves went to the toilet because he had a stomach ache. Bruno's response was that at the investigative declaration, he didn't have an interpreter and didn't understand it well.

Alves's wife Joana takes the stand

Earlier on this second day of the trial of Dani Alves, the former FC Barcelona player's wife, Joana Sanz also appeared. The testimony by the woman who was Alves's partner at the time - and remains so now, since she explained that legally she has not yet been able to complete the divorce proceedings, as she assured that she would do - had generated anticipation, since it was unclear what narrative she would give and whether she could help in the defence of the footballer. Sanz was called by Inés Guardiola, the lawyer defending Dani Alves.

Joana Sanz explained that she did not go out partying with her husband that night and that she spoke with him via WhatsApp at around midnight, when they exchanged their last messages. He said he wasn't coming for dinner and would be with his friends at the Taverna del Clínic, in Barcelona's Eixample district. In the early hours, she explained, Dani Alves arrived home very drunk, bumping into several pieces of furniture in their room and collapsing, she said, on the bed at around four in the morning. "He smelled heavily of alcohol", he said. When Alves arrived home, due to the state he was in, she decided that there was no need to talk to him, and thought that she would do so the next day.

The next day Alves said nothing about the woman

The next day he got up very late and although they did not spend the day together, Dani Alves did not explain anything about what he had done with his friends, nor did he mention that he had gone to the Sutton club. Only that they had been to the restaurant where they had dinner and, to questions from the private prosecution, she denied that Alves had told her anything about what had happened with the woman at the nightclub. She also affirmed that it was a lie that Dani Alves had told her that it was a "boys' night" and that that was why she had not been able to go to dinner and party with them.

Dani Alves. Judici a l'Audiència de Barcelona per agressió sexual.  EFE/ Alberto Estévez
Dani Alves, during the trial this week in Barcelona / EFE/ Alberto Estévez

Preparing the ground

The testimony from Joana Sanz lasted less than 10 minutes, and was part of the defence case, along with the appearance by Alves's friend Bruno who came to the Sutton, and the other two men with whom they had dinner at the Taverna del Clínic. Alves's lawyer focused the questioning of the former Barça star's friends on the amount of alcohol they had consumed, to prepare for a possible mitigating factor due to his state of inebriation. The same strategy was followed with Alves's wife, whose responses highlighted similar lines, such as how drunk her husband was when he got home after the alleged sexual assault.

Mossos police with the victim

The other testimonies heard today, called by the prosecution lawyers, were by officers from the Mossos d'Esquadra police, who took the stand and corroborated the victim's version. They stated that the young woman was in shock, that she hadn't wanted to report the attack because she thought they would not believe her, and that she felt guilty for going with the ex-Barça player into the small toilet where, as she said, the rape took place.

The trial at the Barcelona Audience continues on Wednesday with expert reports, Alves's statement and the lawyers' final reports. It will be the last day.