A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams rape trial delayed

Michael Williams (l) and A.J. Johnson (r) (source: UTSports.com)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County District Attorney’s Office confirms the trials for two former University of Tennessee football players were delayed.

Deputy District Attorney General Kyle Hixon said Judge Bob McGee delayed the trial for A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams pending an appeal regarding the use of social media as evidence. Both the defense and the prosecution appealed Judge McGee’s November ruling that the victim and witnesses could not be subpoenaed for their social media communication, but the social media providers could be subpoenaed.

McGee noted, however, that this was an issue where the law had not caught up with technology and left open the prospect for another court to step in. The appeals court found that this case does warrant review in February.

More: Appellate court to take up social media issue in Vols rape case

Hixon said the trial proceedings will continue pending the outcome of the appeal before the Court of Criminal Appeals. Williams and Johnson are both charged with two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aiding and abetting rape for the incident that took place November 2014. A 19-year-old woman reported being forcibly raped by both men at a large gathering at a south Knoxville apartment.

The former Vols both pleaded not guilty and were granted separate trials.

Extended coverage: University of Tennessee sexual assault

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