NEW: Defense team says accuser motivated by money, prosecutor by politics
Victim says she was interviewing for a babysitting job when alleged attack occurred
Dana Stubblefield played 11 years in the NFL, faces 16 years in prison if convicted
Former NFLer Dana Stubblefield’s defense team went on the offensive Tuesday, alleging that the woman accusing the ex-lineman of rape wants only money and the prosecutor is pursuing the case out of political ambitions.
A news conference opened with a short statement from Stubblefield, who said Special Olympics was one of the primary charities he worked with, making the charge that he raped a developmentally disabled woman particularly hurtful.
He acknowledged having a sexual relationship with the woman but insisted it was consensual.
“I will defend myself with all of my strength,” Stubblefield said. “I look forward to being able to prove my innocence.”
Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Tim McInerny leveled five felony counts against Stubblefield Monday, saying he raped the woman in his home after she interviewed for a job as a babysitter in April 2015.
Authorities say Stubblefield, 45, used the caretaker placement service sittercity.com to arrange the interview. Before the interview, Stubblefield told the alleged victim that he would pay her for the gas, mileage and time it took her to come to the interview.
Officials said that when the 31-year old woman forgot to get the $80 he promised, Stubblefield texted her to return to his home to collect the money. According to McInerny, the sexual assault occurred when the woman went back to Stubblefield’s house.
“This was a crime of violence against a vulnerable victim,” McInerny said in a news release. “She was looking for a job and she was unconscionably assaulted.”
Defense attorney: Motive is financial gain
Stubblefield attorney Gary Winuk said prosecutors have described the alleged victim as disabled to sensationalize the case. Her only motive, he said, was financial gain, as evidenced by 22 texts she sent after the encounter asking for money or a job. She also has penned Facebook posts indicating she was having financial difficulties, he said.
There was no indication before Monday, he said, that the accuser had any disabilities. In fact, she has a driver’s license and, in the past, she has filed civil lawsuits in which she represented herself, has been allowed to plead guilty to charges of assault, resisting arrest and failure to appear in court for a hit-and-run charge, he said. None of this would be allowed if she was developmentally disabled, he said.
“She’s not developmentally disabled,” Ken Rosenfeld, another defense attorney, said.
Added Winuk, “This case is clearly about the district attorney’s office ignoring the evidence we provided them.”
According to the charges, the victim left Stubblefield’s house and went directly to Morgan Hill police to report the alleged assault.
She underwent a sexual assault response team exam, which is an evidentiary medical exam conducted in sexual assault cases.
A crime lab confirmed DNA obtained from the victim matched that of Stubblefield.
Winuk argued that his client was targeted because of his celebrity and wealth, and that the district attorney ignored key pieces of evidence and treated Stubblefield unfairly, seeking only to “arrest someone of notoriety.”
Rosenfeld further alleged that the arrest was spawned by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen’s desire to fill the seat of state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who has launched a U.S. Senate bid.
(Rosen is McInerny’s boss. Though pundits have mentioned his name in connection with statewide office, it does not appear he has launched an official campaign. A call to Rosen’s office for comment was not immediately returned.)
“If these charges were so serious,” Winuk asked, why did the district attorney’s office leave Stubblefield to roam the streets for a year? Then, why did prosecutors insist on arresting Stubblefield in front of his kids at their school when Stubblefield had been cooperating with the investigation?
That cooperation included taking an independent lie detector test and offering to take a police lie detector exam, Winuk said.
Stubblefield spent 11 years in the NFL, playing most of that time for the San Francisco 49ers. He also played for the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and the 1993 NFL defensive rookie of the year.
Bail in this case was set at $250,000. Stubblefield could face up to 16 years in state prison if convicted.
CNN’s Sheena Jones and Andy Rose contributed to this report.