SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Ex-49er Dana Stubblefield and his attorneys Tuesday morning vehemently denied rape charges leveled against him, claiming that the alleged victim wasn’t developmentally disabled and is targeting the former NFL player for financial gain.
Stubblefield and attorneys Gary Winuk and Ken Rosenfeld spoke to the press at the Jubilee Christian Church Administration Center in San Jose Tuesday morning.
“I am not a perfect man. However the allegations against me coming a year after a consensual encounter with another woman are all totally false,” said Stubblefield during his brief prepared comments. “I will defend myself with all of my strength.”
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, the victim was assaulted at the defendant’s home in Morgan Hill on the afternoon of April 9.
The victim – a developmentally disabled woman who was age 31 at the time – traveled to Stubblefield’s home after he contacted her through a babysitter website to interview for a job. After the assault, the victim immediately went to the Morgan Hill Police Department to report the crime.
The former NFL player and his attorney said they will make the case that the encounter was consensual relationship and that the victim is hoping to reach a financial settlement in the wake of the rape charges.
“Mr. Stubblefield has been unfairly targeted in this case by both the alleged victim and the district attorney’s office because of his celebrity and wealth,” said Winuk. “The accuser in this case has always had one motivation, and that is money.”
In addition to reiterating Stubblefield’s innocence, Winuk stated that the District Attorney’s Office ignored key pieces of evidence provided by the defense team in the case. He also said that Stubblefield was not notified of the case against him until nearly a year after the alleged assault.
Winuk also criticized authorities for treating Stubblefield unfairly, saying they unnecessarily took him into custody in front of his children at their school instead of allowing him to turn himself in to police.
The attorney also discounted information the District Attorney’s office included in their announcement of the charges against Stubblefield.
“They described the alleged victim as ‘disabled’ to sensationalize this case,” said Winuk. “She asked Mr. Stubblefield for money immediately after their consensual encounter.”
Winuk said the victim sent over 20 text messages to Stubblefield asking for money or a job in the days that followed their encounter. He also argued against District Attorney’s office claims that the victim “had a disability or diminished capacity,” pointing out she had been allowed by the same office to plead guilty to criminal charges in her recent history, which would require a certain amount of competence in accordance with the justice system.
KPIX 5 Legal Analyst and former judge LaDoris Cordell said with no witnesses, it will the victim’s word against Stubblefield’s. She also noted that the woman’s alleged diminished capacity will be hard to prove if she works doing childcare.
“It’s more and more difficult to prove that she didn’t have the wherewithal to even give consent, which is what they have to do,” said Cordell. “If they are saying she’s developmentally disabled that means she wasn’t able to give consent. Well the work that she does flies in the face of that.”
Winuk also said that one of the principle charities Stubblefield has supported over the decades has been the Special Olympics, which made the charges even more offensive to the former NFL player.
“He has spent countless hours helping people with special needs. To now suggest that he would target someone with special needs is deeply offensive and hurtful to Mr. Stubblefield,” said Winuk.
Stubblefield’s legal team also questioned why it took the District Attorney’s office so long to file charges.
“Absolutely ridiculous. If they truly believed they had somebody dangerous walking around, would they let that person walk around for a year?” asked Rosenfeld.
The lawyers went on to say that Stubblefield is being turned into a political pawn during an election year.
“Somewhat suspicious that we’re headed towards an election for an Attorney General’s position that this DA wants to have,” said Rosenfeld.
Stubblefield was released Monday on $250,000 bail. His arraignment had been scheduled for Wednesday, but it has been postponed, likely for a few weeks.