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U.S. v. E-6

October 31, 2020

When we were first hired on this case, the assigned military counsel thought that the client should plead guilty. The situation looked dire. My client was an E-6 Navy Diver and one of the first African Americans to graduate from the Navy Diver program. When I first reviewed the charge sheet, I realized that this was a two-accuser case. One accuser worked with my client and one accuser was dating one of the divers in my client’s unit.

Accuser One, the co-worker, claimed that my client waited until everyone in the office left, walked into her office, and essentially attacked her. She did not report the allegation for several months, but she made a statement to NCIS, and my client was charged. Accuser One claimed that my client attacked her, threw her against a desk, tried to rip her clothes off, and she only got away because she fought my client off.

Accuser Two was dating another diver in my client’s unit. She claimed that my client assaulted her at a party while everyone else slept. In her allegation, she asserted my client grabbed her breasts and her buttocks without her consent.

We immediately began to investigate both allegations. As for Accuser One, she claimed that during the assault, she screamed, threw things at my client, and that she was thrown on a desk, causing significant damage to the desk. We interviewed the person who sat at that desk and the janitor who was scheduled to clean the office that night. Both witnesses confirmed that the there was no evidence of an assault. No scattered papers, no sign of a fight, and the desk was not in disarray. We also spoke to a witness who was sitting in an office located a few doors down. According to the desk log, this witness was still in the office as the alleged assault took place. Yet, she did not hear a thing. She heard no yelling, no fighting, and otherwise had no knowledge that a fight had occurred. We also uncovered text messages exchanged between our client and Accuser One that indicated they were very friendly with one another in the days immediately after the alleged assault. We felt good about what we had found.

As for the second accuser, we discovered that she had a motive to falsely accuse our client of assault. The week before she accused my client, my client reported her boyfriend for using a racial slur against him. While on a dive in Key West, Florida, the second accuser’s boyfriend called my client the N-word. My client immediately reported him, and he faced a misconduct investigation. Ten days later, his girlfriend accused my client of sexual assault. Plus, I spoke to two different witnesses who attended the party where the alleged assault occurred. Both of those witnesses denied ever seeing an assault even though they would have been feet away from my client when the alleged assault occurred.

After 4 days of trial, the military jury fully acquitted my client. The lesson we learned is that our client cannot rely on military law enforcement investigations to get justice. This is why at Capovilla & Williams we employ our own investigators to ensure that our clients are given a fair opportunity to defend themselves.

Case Result

Full ACQUITTAL. NOT Guilty of all charges. NO jail time. NO sex-offender registration.

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