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Woman accusing two former UT football players of rape testifies on day 3 of trial

AJ Johnson and Michael Williams have been charged with raping another student in November 2014. Both say they are innocent and claim the woman who accused them is lying. The alleged victim took the stand Wednesday.

KNOXVILLE — The woman accusing two former University of Tennessee football players of rape took the stand Wednesday.

AJ Johnson and Michael Williams have been charged with raping another student in November 2014. Both say they are innocent and claim the woman who accused them is lying.

DAY 1: Testimony begins in rape trial for former UT football players

DAY 2: 911 call played in courtroom on day 2 of rape trial for former UT football players

Before testimony continued Wednesday, the defense attorney asked the court to release information sent from UT.

The judge said he had not reviewed the material because it related to a federal lawsuit but decided to release it. After the jury entered the courtroom, the alleged rape victim was called to the stand.

She said when she came to visit UT, she knew it "was the place" she wanted to be and enrolled as a student with an athletic scholarship.

The alleged victim said she met AJ Johnson in the fall of 2014. She knew who he was before that and said he reached out to her in a direct message on Twitter the summer before to ask if she was in town. She said she met him in person in the fall.

She admitted she had consensual sex with Johnson twice before the alleged incident and had no expectations of a relationship.

In court, she said Johnson didn't invite her to the party at his apartment and that she heard from someone else but couldn't remember who. She said her expectation was that the football players would have a party after the win.

She said she was standing at the bottom of the stairs when AJ Johnson asked her if she wanted to go look at the fish tanks in his room so she followed him upstairs.

The alleged victim then said Johnson pushed her down and "immediately started having sex" with her. She said she was "shocked".

She said that encounter was not a rape and that "if it had stopped there" she wouldn't be here today.

She said she wouldn't have had any way of knowing she didn't want to be doing that at that point. She said she never asked Lawn to join her and AJ Johnson on the bed and that Johnson didn't ask Lawn to play a game.

She testified the night of the alleged rape, Johnson started having sex with her and at that point she did not say no. But, minutes later she claimed Williams came into the room. She told the jury that's when things changed.

"I was so terrified at that moment. Umm, like the moment where Mike Williams entered the room and AJ told him to make sure the door was locked, I realized this was a terrible situation. "

She said that's when both men began to rape her and pinned her to the bed. She told the jury she said "no".

After it was over, she said she was sobbing and her body collapsed to the ground and Williams told her to stop crying She said the two men left the room after the alleged assault stopped.

She said she called 911 after the leaving the party and it was entirely her decision. She said people she was with encouraged her to call, but it was her decision.

“I knew enough to know they were football players and I would not be treated the same as them,” she said. She testified that she didn't know how she wanted to proceed when she called 911, but she knew she was making a big decision by reporting the alleged incident.

The alleged victim described the examination at the hospital as painful.

"It was almost like having the experience all over again," she said.

She said her coach came to visit her in a dorm room the next day to see if she was okay. She testified that she went to a clinic the next day and said she felt sick and sore.

The alleged victim said she told the truth to investigators. She said she was interviewed alone, drawing a contrast as part of the prosecution's point that the football players accused had UT Athletics Officials present during their interview.

She said she "willingly offered" her phone to investigators when they asked.

The alleged victim said AJ Johnson tried to contact her and her friends in teh days after the alleged incident and that he was trying to figure out where she was. She said the negative comments on social media was "another violation".

"What I did see and read made me feel horrible," she said.

She said she texted a group chat of her friends the word “help” at about 2:30 a.m. on the night of the alleged incident.

A screenshot of that message has been submitted as evidence.

Outside of that one text, she said she did not send any messages about the alleged incident over text or on her social media. She also said she decided to get off social media because of the negative comments she saw. She said she kept her Snapchat account but took down Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

She testified that before the game the day of the incident, she factory reset her phone and wiped it back to the original settings.

In the weeks following the incident, she said she had more phone problems. She had a phone upgrade and used the upgrade in January following.

She said "it was very clear what side" UT and law enforcement were going to be on and she didn't feel safe in Knoxville as a result of that.

The alleged victim said she read a text she received about Drae Bowles being assaulted and read it aloud to senior UT Athletics Officials and "the didn't really care".

She said she loved her life in Knoxville at UT before the alleged incident. She said she worked with several organizations aimed at preventing campus sexual assault at her new school when she left UT following the alleged incident.

The state asked her if she would ever lie about being raped by AJ Johnson and Michael Williams and she said she "would never lie about something so serious".

The state then asked the alleged victim to identify who raped her. She pointed at AJ Johnson and Michael Williams.

The prosecution finished questioning her around noon.

AJ Johnson's defense attorney, Stephen Johnson, began his cross examination around 1 p.m., after a break for lunch.

He asked about trouble the alleged victim had with her phone the weekend of the alleged incident. He talked through the way to delete, send and find the time of text messages on an iPhone.

The defense attorney walked the alleged victim through her time as a student athlete and how she chose UT.

He then had her walk the jury through her first, consensual sexual encounter with AJ Johnson.

The defense attorney asked the alleged victim to describe some of the details of the first sexual encounter. On both encounters she said "yes it was consensual, no I don't remember the details."

Williams' attorney began his cross examination around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Following the cross examination, redirect began with a question about the lawyer from Nashville that defense attorneys asked about earlier.

She said she was one of eight plaintiffs in a Title IX lawsuit against UT. That lawsuit was concluded in 2016.

She says both Williams and Johnson were significantly smaller now in court than they were on the night of the alleged incident.

The cross examination and redirect wrapped up and the alleged victim stepped down from the stand.

Court entered recess and will resume Thursday at 10 a.m.

WBIR Reporter Cole Sullivan is in the court room providing live updates:

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