Case Results

Not Guilty verdict in Athens rape case

State of Georgia v. D.I.

Our client was a well-known bar owner who was falsely accused of rape by a woman who had consensual sex with him inside the bar. Unfortunately, it took four years to get to a trial and prove his innocence.

The case initially received very negative media attention. This then resulted in several more false claims being made against him by various ex-girlfriends. It took over two years before we were able to persuade the Court to exclude most of those other allegations. Once that was done, we were able to then focus on proving that this initial accuser’s allegation was false.

The woman alleged that she and her friend went out to our client’s bar and were hanging out with him there. She claimed that she wasn’t drinking and that our client gave her a drink that essentially put her in a semi-conscious state. She stated that he then took her to a backstage area and raped her.

Our client maintained that they did have sex but that it was completely consensual. He spoke with the police on the phone the very morning that the allegation was made and even agreed to meet with a detective at the police department without a lawyer. He gave a very detailed and convincing statement about all of his interactions with the woman prior to, during, and after they had sex.

Much of the other evidence in the case contradicted her story. Fortunately, the police extracted data from the cell phones belonging to her and her friend. Unfortunately, the police never looked at that evidence before deciding to arrest our client on rape and kidnapping charges.

Once we were able to examine the evidence from their cell phones, we were able to prove not only that the woman’s allegation was false, but also that her friend deleted critical evidence from her phone prior to giving it to the police.

The State’s strongest evidence in the case appeared to be the sexual assault examination (rape kit) which seemed to suggest that the woman was in significant pain during the exam and that she had sustained numerous vaginal injuries. However, we later learned that the woman had just recently been diagnosed with Chlamydia in the days prior but didn’t reveal that to the police, the nurse, or anyone involved in the investigation.

At trial, we were able to get the State’s medical expert to agree that Chlamydia can cause vaginal pain during intercourse, or during a vaginal exam, and that it could also cause inflammation that can make her vaginal tissue more susceptible to bruising and abrasions. The expert then conceded that her injuries, although “severe” (in her words), could have been sustained during consensual sex.

The truth in this case turned out to be buried in the hundreds of text messages on the woman’s phone. These messages revealed that she was in fact drinking that night, and that she was perfectly fine immediately before and after having sex with our client. The messages also revealed a couple possible motives for the false allegation, including a desire to keep from her boyfriend the fact that she was cheating on him with our client as well as the other man who had recently given her Chlamydia.

Shortly after the allegation was made, the defense team tracked down a security guard who was positioned right by the backstage area of the bar. He worked for a private security firm so our client didn’t know him at all. He stated that he saw the woman making out with our client prior to them going backstage and then again while they were backstage. He also saw the woman and our client upon leaving the backstage area. He said that she was smiling and holding hands with our client.

Prior to trial, we realized that the security guard had moved to Florida and he was initially hesitant to come back to Georgia to testify. We were then able to obtain an out-of-state witness subpoena from a Florida judge a week before the trial was to begin. This enabled us to secure his appearance and ensure that the jury would get to hear this critical testimony.

It took the jury just about an hour to find our client not guilty. Sadly though, it took four-plus years to get the case to trial and our client lost his business as a result. The good news is that his innocence has now been proven and he can begin working towards repairing his good name and reputation.

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