157 Lounge co-owner Matthew Guska pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of assault Tuesday in Portage County Common Pleas Court in Ravenna.

Guska was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday on two felony counts of assault, but the trial did not take place. Instead a plea agreement was reached in which one count was amended to a misdemeanor assault charge, and the second felony charge was dismissed.

Guska was placed on probation with no jail time and must pay restitution to the victim, who Guska is barred from contacting.

On Nov. 2, 2018, a complaint was filed against Guska for allegedly assaulting Mohammed Raja Alanazi in 157 Lounge on September 23, according to court documents. In the police report obtained by the Record Courier, Alanazi told police he was arguing with another man at the bar. When Guska came over, the two men physically grabbed Alanazi and carried him out.

Alanazi told police Guska hit him over the head with a flashlight which doubles as a taser. Alanazi received six stitches at the University Hospitals Kent Health Center.

Guska was indicted on two felony assault charges by a Portage County Grand Jury on Dec. 7, 2018. 

Alanazi, who was not present when the trial was scheduled to begin, requested an interpreter. By the time Alanazi arrived at the courthouse, Guska’s plea was already accepted by the court.

After the preceding, Alanazi spoke at length with Stephen Michniak, assistant Portage County prosecutor, and appeared to be unhappy with the plea agreement.

On Monday, Guska made a motion to bar the use of video cameras and cameras during the trial. In the brief, Guska said a civil lawsuit he filed against Fusion magazine, a publication of the Office of Student Media at Kent State, was the reason the media was interested in his trial.

The motion went unheard, since a plea agreement was reached. 

Correction: This version of the story was changed to correct the name of the bar.

David Williams is a senior reporter. Contact him at dwill191@kent.edu.

Rachel Karas is the editor of KentWired. Contact her at rkaras1@kent.edu.

Felony indictment


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