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UT: ex-player's rape trial delayed
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Tennessee cornerback Michael Williams' rape trial has been delayed until next month.

Williams was scheduled go on trial Monday after being indicted along with former Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson in February. Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee postponed the trial until Sept. 29, which had been Johnson's scheduled trial date.

Johnson's trial was tentatively rescheduled for June 27.

Williams and Johnson each face two counts of aggravated rape. Knoxville police say the incident occurred during a party at an apartment in the early morning of Nov. 16.

Williams' lawyer, David Eldridge, asked for the delay after joining Johnson's request for a court order to obtain cellphone and social media communications with certain witnesses, including the woman who says Williams and Johnson raped her. McGee granted both requests Monday.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.

In the motion filed Monday, Stephen Ross Johnson, a lawyer for A.J. Johnson, wrote that witnesses communicated via cellphone and social media "prior to, during and immediately after the event at issue" and that the defense "cannot properly prepare for trial without these communications."

Deputy District Attorney General Kyle Hixson called the motion "nothing more than an 11th-hour fishing expedition." But A.J. Johnson's attorney said he made the request because prosecutors indicated they did not have the communications, meaning they need a court order to get them from witnesses or service providers.

Williams and Johnson both were suspended from Tennessee's football team and were named as suspects of a rape investigation in November. Johnson has since graduated and completed his eligibility. Williams also is no longer on Tennessee's roster.

Johnson, a 23-year-old from Gainesville, Georgia, was a four-year starter for Tennessee's football team. His 425 career tackles represent Tennessee's second-highest total since the school started keeping track of that statistic in 1970.

Williams, a 22-year-old from Laurel, Maryland, started five games and made 23 tackles for Tennessee last season.

 

 

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