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Saturday, May 28, 2022
Alec Cook's lawyers, Chris Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson Goetz, addressed media following his bail hearing Thursday.

Alec Cook's lawyers, Chris Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson Goetz, addressed media following his bail hearing Thursday.

Judge sets Cook's bail at $200,000

Bail was set at $200,000 for suspended UW-Madison student Alec Cook Thursday, as the 20-year-old made his initial appearance in court.

Cook was charged with 11 felony sexual assault counts, two counts of false imprisonment, one strangulation count and more than 15 misdemeanor sexual assault counts.

The judge said he found probable cause in the criminal complaint for each of the charges alleged. Cook entered a plea of not guilty on the misdemeanor charges.

Cook’s attorneys, Chris Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson Goetz, will notify the District Attorney’s office 48 hours before Cook posts the bail.

Cook’s bail was set on the condition that he remains in the Dane County Jail until he has had a hearing to address non-monetary conditions of the bond.

Five separate accusers have come forward, the first of which mirrors the original criminal complaint. One woman accused Cook of inappropriately touching her during a ballroom dance class they both took during the spring. Nicholson Goetz believed these accusations were not valid, and that the other four women consented to intercouse with Cook.

The defense said the criminal complaint does not support the “slaughtering” of their client that has occurred in the media over the last 10 days, an issue which they addressed in a press release Thursday. The complaint does not show that Cook stalked woman or possessed stalking notebooks.

“There’s nothing to support the monster that exists in the minds of all of the people of UW-Madison,” Van Wagner said. “This is what we were waiting for. This is what the state believes they have.”

Nicholson Goetz said they have not seen the notebooks that have been referred to in the media. They have one page of a notebook, which she described as “misquoted” from their previous hearing.

Van Wagner showed a photograph of the page, which showed a bullet-pointed list that described meeting people and nothing violent. There was no category marked “kill.” The page had the word “killed” which was crossed off and with a question mark next to it in the top right right corner that Van Wagner said could mean the death of a relationship. The list had categories for qualities of individuals, such as “major” and “what makes her special.” Van Wagner said they contend that they do not know what the list is.

“There was no woman named, there was no description of violence or anything of that nature,” Nicholson Goetz said. “Certainly I have not seen anything released that fits the description as things have been reported.”

Cook will return to his parents’ home in Edina, Minn. if he is released. He remains banned from UW-Madison.

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“We are going to focus on defending the criminal case,” Nicholson Goetz said. “I don’t want to see Alec’s future permanently put on hold, and so that is a concern. The primary concern is protecting his liberty.”

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