DA’s office to decide whether to press charges in alleged rape case involving two UT football players

Michael Williams (l) and A.J. Johnson (r) (source: UTSports.com)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County District Attorney’s office is reviewing the alleged rape case investigation involving UT football players AJ Johnson and Michael Williams and whether to press charges against them. The Knoxville Police Department turned the case file over to the DA’s office late Friday night.

Previous story: Knoxville police complete UT rape case, turn over to district attorney

Knoxville Police Department detectives began the investigation in the early morning hours of November 16 after a 19-year-old woman told police she was forcibly raped by Johnson and Williams at the Woodlands Apartment Complex.

KPD has been busy interviewing people. Officers searched Johnson’s apartment and collected DNA samples from both Johnson and Williams. After almost four weeks, the next step is up to the Knox County DA’s office.

WATE 6 On Your Side legal analyst Greg Isaacs says the DA’s office has three choices moving forward: decide no charges should be brought, issue an arrest warrant or take the evidence to a grand jury.

“Typically in a case like this with very serious allegations of rape, the prosecution, if they decide to go forward, will most likely ask a grand jury to review the facts,” said Isaacs.

Isaacs believes if the DA’s office decides to pursue charges, this case will likely be in front of a grand jury in one to three weeks.

Greg Isaacs
Greg Isaacs

The grand jury hears the prosecution’s evidence. The jurors, made of 12 citizens, decide in a private meeting if the state proved probable cause, and if so, issue what’s called a true bill.

“Typically you’ll see the victim. She’ll testify. You’ll have officers testify as to what witnesses told them during the course of their investigation. You’ll see forensic evidence presented to the grand jury,” said Isaacs.

Johnson hasn’t posted on Twitter since this search but over the weekend he sent out Instagram photos with the message “It’s great to be officially graduated from the University of Tennessee.”

Coach Butch Jones made the decision to suspend both Johnson and Williams from all team activities during the investigation.

The DA’s office will now determine if charges will be filed.

Isaacs says some people have been concerned over the speed of the investigation. Isaacs says rape cases can take three months to investigate and move forward in the legal system. He says this case is moving at a normal pace.


The Grand Jury is on recess for the rest of the year. On Dec. 17, WATE 6 On Your Side received a message from Assistant District Attorney General Sean F. McDermott saying once the case is turned over to the office for review, ethical rules prohibit the office from commenting further.

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