Gareon Conley Legal Matters Loom Large Over Raiders Draft
There will be tense moments for the Raiders in the weeks ahead.
Gareon Conley, who many believed would fall to at least the second round after rape allegations, gave a strong enough account of his actons to salvage a late first-round investment from an organization touted for its strong stance on domestic abuse.
Given the Raiders outspoken position on domestic violence and the value of their first pick, many believed they had information that would squash the allegations against Conley.
But that may not be the case.
Based on a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it was Conley’s defense team that appears to have made the first concession and in the process may be compromising a key witness or two.
#Raiders CB Gareon Conley’s lawyer tells me Conley & his accuser had a “consensual” sexual event that night. “Her version is not accurate”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2017
Prior to the draft, witnesses close to Conley who were at the Cleveland hotel reportedly stated that nothing happened between Conley and the accuser. The police report read that Conley’s best friend indicated “Conley never touched her and the white girl got mad because she got kicked out of the room.” Another witness in the report also claimed “nothing happened.”
As of Monday, Conley’s lawyer appears to be abandoning some of those witness statements by acknowledging that Conley’s accuser is giving a “not accurate” account of what was a “consensual” sexual event that occurred that night.
As media reacted to the information, Conley’s lawyer again appeared to distance the defense from accounts at the scene.
Kevin Spellacy, Gareon Conley's lawyer, says some media are misrepresenting his words: "Nothing that Gareon has said has been inconsistent."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 2, 2017
It’s worth noting that Conley had initially aligned his story with witnesses at the scene – assuming he knew the statements they had made. In a statement issued by Conley through his agent prior to the draft, Conley indicated that there were witnesses “present the entire time and have given statements that give an accurate account of what took place.”
So for now, Conley will wait. While the prosecutor reviews the facts and awaits results of a DNA sample submitted by Conley, the Raiders will wait with him. If it’s a matter of Conley’s account against the accuser, it’s certainly possible the case could come down to a drawn-out trial.
For what it’s worth, inconsistent witnesses hardly prove guilt and Conley is believed to have passed a polygraph test administered prior to the draft.
It could be that there is more information unavailable to the public, but only days ago it did appear that Conley’s most powerful defense would come in the form of witnesses at the scene.
Either way, the Raiders were comfortable with the pick and the Las Vegas era of the Oakland Raiders is kicking off with a Vegas-style scandal and a Vegas-style gamble.
On a final note, it’s interesting that the Raiders probably had an opportunity to trade down with the 49ers and possibly take Conley at the beginning of the second round.
Safe to say, as a football player, they really like Gareon Conley.