Former Nebraska interim football coach Mickey Joseph pushed, punched and choked his wife and pulled her hair during an argument the couple had over infidelity, Lincoln police allege in a court document filed Thursday.
Lancaster County prosecutors charged Joseph, 54, with one felony count of assault by strangulation or suffocation, which is punishable by up to five years of probation or three years of prison. Joseph denied the allegations to police, according to the affidavit. The charge was an upgrade to the two misdemeanors that Lincoln police originally cited when they booked him into jail Wednesday night.
A judge set bail Thursday at 10% of $20,000, meaning Joseph had to pay $2,000 to be released. He did that Thursday afternoon. He was ordered to have no contact with his wife.
According to the two-page sworn affidavit of Lincoln Police Officer Steve Redlin:
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Priscilla Joseph, 34, told arriving Lincoln police officers that she and Mickey Joseph have been married for six years. Just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, the two “began arguing about infidelity in the marriage” in their home near 34th Street and Tree Line Drive in south Lincoln.
“Priscilla reported (Mickey) pushed her from the front, causing her to fall onto the couch,” Redlin wrote. “Priscilla advised (Mickey) got on top of her on the couch and placed his hands around her throat. She specifically stated, ‘He pushed me on the couch and strangled me.’”
When officers asked her if she could breathe, she told them: “No, until I pushed him off.”
She then walked to the adjoining kitchen area. She alleged that her husband “grabbed her hair from behind and pulled her backward, causing her to fall to the ground,” according to the court document.
“In the process of falling, Priscilla reported (Mickey) struck her in the left temple with a closed fist,” Redlin wrote. “She specifically stated that (Mickey) ‘grabbed me by the hair and punched me in the eye.’ “
Redlin wrote that officers observed “visible redness and swelling around her left eye which was consistent with being struck.”
“Priscilla was observed to have several long strands of hair clinging to her right upper pant leg,” Redlin wrote. “Priscilla reported these hairs were pulled from her head when she was grabbed” by her husband.
Priscilla told officers that her husband grabbed her cellphone and tried to flush it down the toilet. Officers saw it sitting in a tub of rice — one method used to try to dry out a cellphone.
Priscilla Joseph’s 35-year-old brother is quoted in the affidavit saying he was in an upstairs bedroom when he heard the couple arguing. He walked out to the balcony overlooking the living room and saw Mickey Joseph’s “hand around Priscilla’s throat.”
Joseph was arrested about 3:10 p.m. at the home of former Nebraska quarterback Steve Taylor, a real estate agent in Lincoln. Taylor posted a statement to Facebook after rampant internet rumors falsely suggested he was involved in the altercation.
“Dear Husker Nation ... my wife and (I) are friends with the Joseph family. Please disregard all rumors & innuendos because they are all totally false + terribly inaccurate! We are here to help & support Mickey’s family through this ordeal. My bond to my family & fellow Huskers is the most precious thing in my life!”
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Taylor had simply been trying to get Joseph to focus on an interview he was scheduled to have Wednesday for the coaching spot at Tulsa. The interview was conducted using computer software. The interview with Tulsa had not been conducted at Taylor’s house, a source said.
Lincoln police said Mickey Joseph waived his right to remain silent and “provided a statement.”
Joseph “denied striking Priscilla in the face or grabbing her hair,” the affidavit said. “(Mickey) did not have any visible injury.”
Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts issued a statement saying Joseph had been placed on administrative leave.
“I was made aware of the charges against Coach Joseph and given the nature of the allegations and based on university policy he has been placed on administrative leave,” Alberts said.
Joseph’s status with Nebraska has been in question since Nebraska hired Matt Rhule this week to be the Huskers’ head football coach.
Alberts said Monday that any decision regarding Joseph’s status at NU would be up to Rhule. Both Alberts and the new coach commended Joseph at the time for how he had led the program for the past 11 weeks.
Joseph, a former quarterback at Nebraska, was hired by former head coach Scott Frost in December 2021 to be Nebraska’s associate head coach, receivers coach and passing game coordinator. After Frost was fired on Sept. 11, Alberts promoted Joseph to be Nebraska’s interim coach for the final nine games of the season.
Joseph’s contract with Nebraska runs through Dec. 31, 2023, but he can be fired for cause if he is found to have been in “violation or breach of any applicable federal, state or municipal laws,” or “violation of any felony or misdemeanor criminal statute resulting in a conviction that relates to, impacts or impairs (his) ability to perform duties on behalf of the university,” according to his contract.
This report includes material from the Lincoln Journal Star.
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