Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial set to begin in Toronto

TORONTO - The trial of disgraced broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi is set to begin in Toronto today.

The former host of CBC Radio's popular culture show "Q" has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

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He will be tried by judge alone.

The controversy surrounding Ghomeshi surfaced in October 2014, when the CBC said he was taking time off from his duties "to deal with some personal issues," but then cut ties with the rising star two days later.

The CBC later explained it decided to terminate Ghomeshi's employment after seeing "graphic evidence" that he had physically injured a woman.

Ghomeshi said in a lengthy Facebook post that he engaged in "rough sex" but insisted his encounters with women were always consensual.

One month after the CBC announced his firing, Ghomeshi turned himself in to police to face multiple charges.

In addition to the charges he goes on trial for today, Ghomeshi is facing one other count of sexual assault that will be tried separately in June.

Some of the alleged assaults date back as far as 2002.

If convicted of sexual assault, Ghomeshi faces a maximum sentence of 18 months behind bars. If convicted of the choking charge, however, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.



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