Former USU athlete Torrey Green is calling for a new trial and says it’s unfair for six women to testify about similar sexual assaults

They were six women who had never met but told a jury three years ago strikingly similar stories about sexual assault at the hands of former Utah State University football player Torrey Green.

Now Green argues that the jury should never have heard from all six women during his 10-day trial – and he’s asking the Utah Supreme Court to step in and grant him a new trial.

The state’s highest court heard arguments on this issue and others on Wednesday, as Green’s appellate attorneys claimed the former athlete’s trial was unfair.

Green is serving a 26-year life sentence since a jury convicted him in 2019 on eight counts related to reports by six women who say he sexually assaulted them between 2013 and 2015 when he was a student at Logan abused.

These questions are at the heart of his appeal.

Should a judge have allowed the jury to hear testimonies from all six women?

That was the main point of contention in Wednesday’s court, where the judges peppered the lawyers with questions for more than two hours.

Prior to Green’s 2019 trial, a northern Utah judge had ruled that six of the seven women who accused the former athlete had allegations with enough similarities that he allowed them to testify in each other’s trials. The case of the alleged seventh victim is still pending.

First Circuit Judge Brian Cannell found several similarities between their allegations in his pre-trial ruling: Four of the alleged victims said they met Green through the dating app Tinder. Six testified that they were attacked at his home during their first time with the accused.

Five women reported that Green was making a film before the alleged assault. And five said Green told each of them “she’d enjoy it.” All, the judge wrote, said they verbally and physically communicated to Green that they disagreed.

Prosecutors wanted the jury to hear this testimony to show Green was a serial rapist and to counter his defense that sex was consensual and the women made up their allegations. After the judge made that decision, Green’s trial attorney asked that the six cases be consolidated into a single trial.

Green’s appellate attorney Freya Johnson argued Wednesday that the judge’s ruling and subsequent motion for consolidation were errors. She said in the appeal that many of the women lack memories of independence because they only turned themselves in to police after The Salt Lake Tribune published a 2016 investigative report into four women who told police Green had raped them . At this point nothing had been done.

“Whether or not the women knew each other was irrelevant,” the appeal says, “because they knew of each other’s allegations either from talking to another student or from reading the Tribune articles before making detailed allegations.” “

Prosecutors, in response, argued that the women’s accounts were independent, noting that two of the victims were interviewed for the original Tribune article and the others had other evidence showing they told other people or made their rape allegations long before the newspaper articles had documented was published.

Utah Assistant Attorney General David Simpson argued Wednesday that it was fair for the jury to hear from all six women with such similar allegations to refute Green’s defense that the women are lying.

“The story that the state has presented is basically true,” he said. “Six women have accused Green of sexually assaulting him in a way that would be extraordinarily difficult for him [them] To manufacture.”

Was it wrong that the jury heard from the victims’ friends and families?

Because some of the women did not contact police until after The Tribune’s investigative report was released, prosecutors called several friends or family members of each victim to testify when Green had assaulted them.

This was an attempt to show independence from one another – that although the victims had only later turned themselves in to police, they had told those closest to them that they were being raped. Prosecutors also showed jurors a poem and a college essay written by two of the victims describing sexual assault, written years before The Tribune article. Attorneys for both sides also agreed to show the jury a summary of The Tribune’s coverage of the Green case.

Green’s appellate attorneys argue that this was all “hearsay” evidence that should never have been admitted at trial and would have damaged his case. Johnson argued that the cumulative and repeated testimony unduly strengthened the victims’ accounts relative to their client. And she argued that Green’s trial attorney should have protested.

Attorneys General’s Office argued that the interviews and materials were important to the jury in refuting Green’s defense that the women were motivated to fabricate allegations after seeing the article in The Tribune because they were upset with it because she didn’t want a second date or wanted money from him. Green had signed a contract to play with the Atlanta Falcons but was dropped from the team shortly after the article was published in The Tribune in 2016.

Simpson argued on Wednesday that it was “perfectly fair” to admit that evidence at trial, given Green’s claim that the women made their allegations after reading The Tribune.

Did prosecutors make ‘inappropriate’ racist remarks?

Green is Black, and all his victims were white.

His appeals attorneys argue that prosecutors made statements in court that created racial stereotypes that imply that black men are “animalistic” and “sexually unrestrained.”

They argue in his appeal that prosecutors portrayed the women as young and naïve while he was portrayed as a large, dangerous predator preying on young women. He was in his early 20s, his attorney notes, while most of the women were in their 18s or 19s.

Green’s attorneys argued that it was inappropriate for Cache County Assistant Attorney Spencer Walsh to tell the jury in his closing arguments that Green was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and that his home, where the sexual assault took place, as his “hideout.” ” to call.

“The state’s issue appealed to racial prejudice and emotion because it aroused stereotypical fears that black men were exploiting young white women,” the appeal reads.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office argue that Green seeks to turn racially neutral statements into inappropriate stereotypes. The reference to a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” is a well-known biblical idiom, they argue, which they described “superbly” describing the Greens’ approach: “He would turn on his charms and talk about his mother to lure victims back to his apartment.” , then attack when they are alone for the first time.”

This was not an issue discussed at Wednesday’s hearing.

Have prosecutors engaged in other wrongdoing?

Green’s appellate attorneys also argued that the prosecutor “often denigrated” the man’s trial attorney in closing arguments, implying that she intentionally misled the jury and asked difficult questions of the victims in order to embarrass and humiliate them .

Walsh told the jury that the defense “threw anything they could think of up against the wall and see if it sticks,” calling their arguments “utter nonsense.” He also told jurors that Green himself misled the jury during his testimony, in which he denied raping the victims and said that either sex was consensual or it did not occur.

“In a case that depended heavily on the credibility of the women,” Green’s appeal said, “the prosecutor’s inappropriate remarks damaged Torrey’s credibility and his credibility before the jury.”

Prosecutors argued in response that the prosecutor did not disparage Green’s trial attorney, but instead argued how the jury should interpret the evidence — which is the point of a closing argument.

The judges asked no questions about it Wednesday, and none of the attorneys addressed it in their arguments.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/10/05/former-usu-athlete-torrey-green/ Former USU athlete Torrey Green is calling for a new trial and says it’s unfair for six women to testify about similar sexual assaults

Justin Scacco

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