Belle argues to get out of jail - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Belle argues to get out of jail

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Posted: Saturday, June 10, 2006 6:44 am

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Keppel said he would decide early next week whether to let former major league baseball star Albert Belle out of jail.

During a hearing before Keppel on Friday, Belle denied he violated a court order by making phone calls and speaking to ex-girlfriend Christine Williams of Scottsdale.

Belle, 39, has been held in Maricopa County’s Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix without bond since his May 17 arrest by Scottsdale police on suspicion of violating a judge’s order not to have any contact with Williams or her children, stemming from a stalking case.

Belle was arrested on suspicion of felony stalking in February after Williams told police Belle had threatened to kill her if she told police he had a tracking device installed on her car after she broke off their relationship.

Belle’s wife, Melissa, who gave birth to their daughter on April 30, testified in court it was her who made four calls to Williams, but hung up. Melissa Belle said she was “hormonal and pregnant” when she made four calls to Williams on April 28, attempting to investigate the extent of Williams’ relationship with her husband.

Albert Belle testified the relationship he had with Williams was “strictly a business relationship” and that he paid her for escort services from June 2001 through January of this year, when Williams said she ended the relationship.

Williams testified she started receiving several hang-up calls in late March and April that showed up as private on her caller ID, and she didn’t know who it was. A phone record search by Scottsdale detective Joseph Nichols revealed that calls came from Belle’s residence, some dating April 26 and 28 and May 11 and 12.

Williams said she had also received a telephone call on her cell phone from Belle at 8:02 a.m. May 12, when she was in her car at Shea and Tatum boulevards. The woman said she recognized Belle’s voice during that call when he said, “What are you doing? Where are you going?”

“It freaked me out,” Williams said. “It just scared me. It seems like nothing stops him.”

Belle denied making any of the calls or speaking to Williams, and pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked if he had made any threats to her.

Williams testified that Belle gave her money for a new car and to go somewhere so Belle would know where she was during his honeymoon.

Belle’s defense attempted to chip away at Williams’ credibility, saying she lied during an initial interview with detectives by not revealing the extent of her relationship with Belle. Attorneys also said that Williams didn’t reveal she was a licensed escort, something she said she was at least 11 years ago.

Williams could not be reached for comment after the hearing.

A pretrial hearing on the felony stalking case against Belle is scheduled for July 6 before Judge Margaret Mahoney.

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