In January’s wild-card playoff game against the Steelers, receiver Demaryius Thomas helped the Broncos seize victory from the jaws of defeat. Last week, Thomas did the same thing for former teammate Perrish Cox.
Josh Alper dropped the link in today’s one-liners, but since I can only write so many bounty stories in one weekend I decided to elaborate. With Cox acquitted of rape despite: (1) denying having sex with the alleged victim; and (2) providing DNA evidence that matched the DNA of the fetus that was growing in the woman’s body, it looked like he was heading up the river. Or down the river. Or whichever direction on the river the prison is.
So what happened? Mike Klis of the Denver Post explains that testimony from Thomas gave Cox’s lawyer the opening for the one thing that allows the factually guilty to go free in the name of protecting the innocent from being wrongfully convicted: reasonable doubt.
After blurting out a comment from Cox that prompted a failed request from Cox’s lawyer for a mistrial, Thomas offered up something that hurt the prosecutions case, perhaps fatally. Questioned by prosecutors regarding his decision to send multiple text messages to the alleged victim on the day following the alleged incident, Thomas explained that he texted the alleged victim because teammate Cassius Vaughn had told Thomas at practice that he there was some “great ‘girl on girl action'” after Thomas left Cox’s apartment.
Thomas had told police that he left Cox’s apartment after the alleged victim supposedly passed out.
Klis explains that the judge had prohibited any reference to supposed “girl on girl” action under Colorado’s rape shield laws, which are aimed at ensuring that the sexual habits and histories of rape victims won’t become an issue at trial. But the prosecution opened the door, foolishly. (The notion that a lawyer should never ask a question to which the lawyer doesn’t already know the answer became a cliche for a reason.)
And so the testimony from Thomas paved the way for evidence that the alleged victim had erased text messages from Thomas regarding Vaughn’s claim. The prosecution then chose not to call Vaughn to testify, which Cox’s lawyer wisely pointed out during closing arguments. Throw in a concession from Thomas that, on second thought, the alleged victim may not have been passed out but merely asleep, and that’s enough reasonable doubt to prevent Cox from being convicted.
Since, as Klis explains, none of the jurors will talk about the verdict, there’s no way to know why they disregarded a fairly clear line of logic. But Klis likely is right — whether Thomas intended to save Cox or not, Thomas said just enough to keep Cox out of prison.