Court brief: Rape victim, ex-UT football star had sex for months

According to a court brief filed last month, a woman who accused former University of Tennessee football player A.J. Johnson of rape had "casual sex" with Johnson "for months" before the alleged attack.

KNOXVILLE - The former University of Tennessee female athlete who has accused ex-UT football standout A.J. Johnson and a teammate of raping her “had casual sex” with Johnson “for months” prior to when the alleged attack occurred, according to court records.

In a brief filed late last month in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, defense attorneys for former linebacker Johnson and former cornerback Michael Williams attack the victim’s credibility and seek to force social media service providers to give them access to media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook produced by the alleged victim and others involved in the case.

The defense team believe that without the information, the duo cannot get a fair trial.

Johnson and Williams each face two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aiding and abetting. They are accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at Johnson’s south Knoxville apartment in November 2014.

Defense attorneys have long suggested that the woman consented to having sex with them during the party.

“Before the party, (the woman) and Mr. Johnson were engaged in a casual sexual relationship,” the appellate brief filed on July 28 states. “They spoke online and in person from time to time.”

The state appellate court has agreed to review on an emergency basis the question over access to social media raised in the rape case while the trial is put on hold.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee, who is overseeing the trial, denied the defense’s bid last November to get subpoenas to specifically examine the accounts of the alleged victim and witnesses.

In addition, the judge denied the prosecution’s bid to stop the defense from seeking such subpoenas for social media service providers that may have handled such information. McGee had previously agreed to let the defense pursue the potential evidence.

The prosecution and the defense both appealed McGee's decision, seeking an emergency review known as an interlocutory appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals.

“Much of the communications among the witnesses before, during and after the party was via electronic messaging, which can serve as a real-time memorialization of events,” attorney Stephen Ross Johnson, who represents A.J. Johnson, wrote in the brief.

The defense attorney also noted that the victim and one of her friends who was with Williams at the party have provided “multiple and varied statements” that are “wildly inconsistent.”

“Knowing what (they) were saying in the time periods surrounding the allegations could shed light on what actually happened,” records state.

The appellate brief notes that Johnson, Williams, the alleged victim and her friend were all in Johnson’s bedroom when he and the woman began having sex. The friend then left and “began texting others at the party to find and meet up with them.”

During the investigation, however, the two women “disposed of their cell phones within one day of each other” and deleted their social media accounts.

Without forcing the social media providers to turn over the information, the two former players cannot get a fair trial, the defense attorney said.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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