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Emily Welker, Published August 19 2013

NDSU player Beck pleads guilty in resisting charge, wants to 'put this behind him,' says lawyer

FARGO – North Dakota State University starting linebacker Travis Beck pleaded guilty Monday to resisting arrest charges in Cass County Court, a move his attorney said was designed to allow him to put this summer’s legal woes behind him without a trial interfering with the Bison football season.

“Most people think resisting is fighting – you’ve seen the video,” said Beck’s defense attorney, Bruce Quick. “That’s the wrong word for this situation – what he’s charged with is failing to stop” when arresting officers told him to. At the time of the incident, Quick said, Beck had just been punched in the head at least twice.

Quick was referring to surveillance video evidence released this summer that shows Beck in an apparent brawl with another man near a downtown bar.

In it, Beck can be seen walking away from arresting officers responding to the fight. The video also seems to show Beck may have acted in self-defense against the other man in the fight, Matthew Aanenson, who police found lying unconscious in a nearby downtown parking lot.

The video evidence pulled from city surveillance cameras and local businesses led the State’s Attorney’s office to drop more serious felony aggravated assault charges against Beck.

Neither Quick nor Beck appeared at Monday morning’s plea and sentencing hearing. Instead, Quick’s fellow Vogel Law attorney Mark Friese entered a plea to a B misdemeanor resisting arrest charge on Beck’s behalf.

Beck was sentenced to 10 days in jail, will all time suspended, and 360 days unsupervised probation, plus a $225 fee.

“I know Mr. Beck was anxious to put all this behind him,” said Friese after the sentencing. “This was a relief for him … to accept responsibility and to put it behind him.”

Friese and Quick both said they thought Beck’s was a strong case for trial, but their client was eager to be done with the issue, which dominated headlines and newscasts for several days this summer.

A trial would have likely not been scheduled until October, which would have conflicted with the football season, Quick said.

Quick acknowledged that police did have probable cause to arrest Beck at the time of the fight, but “whether a jury would agree,” he said, was an issue he thought was winnable for the defense.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541