Douglas County prosecutors don’t want the public — or a jury — to see texts sent by the man accused of rape by the KU law student who’s been charged with making a false report.
Which naturally makes us wonder what’s in those texts that they seem so afraid would hurt their case.
Ditto for the evidence pertaining to the man’s character, reputation and any past allegations that prosecutors want kept off-limits. His “character is not in issue,” the motion filed in court on Thursday says.
Instead, “what is in issue is specific conduct” on the night in September of 2018 when he says he had consensual rough sex with his classmate, who had been seeing a friend of his. She says she came out of a blackout covered with bruises, and we do know that her injuries were documented by the nurses who did a rape exam the next day.
The texts he sent that night would seem to be very much be at issue. At a preliminary hearing, Lawrence Police Detective Charles Cottengim testified about those messages.
Defense attorney Branden Bell asked, “Do you recall him stating his preference or his intent to sleep with (his friend’s sometime girlfriend) that night?”
“Yes,” Cottengim said, “there were messages.”
“Immediately after he talks about how f---ed up she is?”
“And saying how he’s going to do it just to show (his friend) that he can?”
If found guilty of making a false report at a trial scheduled to start on Oct. 28, she could spend almost six years behind bars.
Prosecutors also want a gag order placed on her and her defense attorneys.
The motion, filed by Chief Assistant District Attorney Eve Kemple, said this is because “the state has a right to a fair trial.”
But so does the accused, Counselor. And the problem with your arguments in this motion, as with the case as a whole, is that you can’t prove she was lying without proving she wasn’t raped, and you can’t prove she wasn’t raped without investigating whether she was raped. This would seem to entail a look into the background of the man whom Cottengim testified police took at his word that he had done nothing wrong.
The Lawrence police by their own admission never investigated the woman’s report. Instead, they looked at her cellphone, saw texts she had written minimizing the situation while she was still in it — and still under the influence — and concluded on the spot that she was lying. They only interviewed the man who she says raped her as part of their investigation against her.
In a statement, her defense attorneys said, “Our client has a right to respond to allegations that the prosecutor has publicly aired, including the accusation that she fabricated the allegation of rape.” The jury should get to see the “he said” as well as the “she said” before they decide who is and is not lying.