A dramatic legal fight is shaping up as former UFC star Cain Velasquez prepares for his next court appearance Monday in San Jose. That's when the mixed martial arts fighter will be officially charged with attempted murder.
As NBC Bay Area first reported on Feb. 28, Velasquez was taken into custody after shooting at a man, who was arrested for allegedly molesting a young child related to Velasquez.
Now those who knew Velasquez and experts are weighing in on the upcoming hearing.
The popular Punch King gym in San Jose is where martial arts movie star Cung Le trains and is filming a TV pilot.
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Le made numerous movies starring along other big name fighting stars such as Jean Claude Van Damme. But Le also competed in a mixed martial arts tournaments including in the UFC, where he said he knew Cain Velasquez well.
In fact, Le said that Velasquez and his wife go out often with him and his family and friends.
Le told NBC Bay Area Thursday that he was stunned Velasquez was arrested for shooting at someone, but is sympathetic since that person, Harry Goularte is suspected of molesting a young Velasquez family member.
“He just had that moment of, you know, anger," he said. "And I can’t for him. What he did, I know ‘two wrongs don’t make a right?’ But how are we as parents supposed to protect our kids when they keep letting these criminals out?”
A lot of Velasquez supporters who showed up at the courthouse wearing ‘Free Cain’ T shirts said the same thing.
Legal analyst Dean Johnson told NBC Bay Area that trying to justify taking the law into your own hands is not really a legal defense but could work with a jury.
“Some of them will say the alleged victim may have deserved what Velasquez is alleged to have gone to him and it’s going to make jury selection very difficult,” he said.
Johnson added that he was skeptical of the impact Velasquez’s attorney Mark Geragos will make as he said that Geragos’s celebrity image brings a lot of baggage.
Meanwhile, Le said that he believes Velasquez and the person will be the key.
“I just feel for Cain because I know a lot of parents would probably take matters into their own hands. I’m one of them," he said.
Velasquez is scheduled to enter a plea and ask to be let out on bail.