Two former Tennessee football players acquitted in rape trial

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Two former members of the Tennessee football program were acquitted of aggravated rape charges from a November 2014 incident. Former Vols linebacker A.J. Johnson and defensive back Michael Williams were each previously charged with raping a woman at a party and have now been cleared by a jury on Friday.

A jury took less than two hours to come to their decision.

“I am so grateful to the jury for their work and their service to our community, and I’m grateful for their seeing the truth, [that] Michael Williams is not guilty and has never been guilty of this crime,” Johnson’s lawyer, David Eldridge, said in an Associated Press report. “He’s looking forward to moving on with his life.”

The defense argument was based on the idea the prosecution was not providing sufficient evidence to back a woman’s claim she was raped by the two former Tennessee football players. It was the defense team’s stance the woman had consensual sex with both men and then later lied about her claim of being raped.

Neither player played for Tennessee following the indictment against them.