Steubenville rape trial begins Wednesday morning

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - The motto of quiet Steubenville, Ohio is "Where you always have a home." But home the last few months has been tumultuous at best.

It was August 2012, after a house party, when allegations came in that two 16-year old boys raped an unconscious 16-year-old girl.

It made national headlines after a group on the Internet known as "Anonymous" posted about the case online including a photo and a video they posted that went viral showing a teen joking about it. Police investigated and two 16-year-old boys were arrested and charged with rape. Both pleaded not guilty,

Back online, "Anonymous" said more students were involved in the alleged rape and said police went easy on the two teens charged because they were football players.

People rallied demanding answers and some even claimed a cover-up. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department denied any preferential treatment.  

After threats to some of the football players in January, security was beefed up outside Steubenville schools.

Seven months after the alleged rape, the trial begins. It is open to the public, could last several days and at least 40 witnesses could testify.

In a last minute change, lawyers of one of the suspects are asking a judge to dismiss the case against him because they say the "unavailability of material witnesses" denies him his right to a fair trial.

A West Virginia judge last week rejected requests that three juveniles be called to testify at the eastern Ohio trial of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl. The girl is from West Virginia.

The juveniles' testimony was expected to bolster the players' defense against the charges.

Attorneys representing one of the defendants argue in a motion to dismiss the case that one of the witnesses was a friend of the girl's and can testify to the alleged victim's alcohol intake and relationship with Mays.

NewsChannel5 has a team of journalists in Steubenville covering the trial. We'll have the very latest information on newsnet5.com and on NewsChannel5 as the trial begins.

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