In Day 2 of the Steubenville rape trial, the prosecution revealed hundreds of text messages sent between the defendants and various witnesses in the hours and days following the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl. The messages, which were read aloud in the courtroom yesterday, are predictably stomach-churning—and they also pose a big problem for the defense team's strategy.
Remember, defense attorneys plan to argue that while sexual contact did take place between the accuser and their clients, it was all consensual. They will make the case that the accuser was conscious and aware of her surroundings throughout the night. The text messages that were read in court yesterday, many of them sent by defendant Trent Mays, paint a different picture. From The New York Times:
In one text message, Mr. Mays stated that he had had sexual intercourse with the girl. But in other texts, he denied it, according to the messages read by Ms. Gibb during her testimony.
Mr. Mays also texted that the girl “was like a dead body” and that he did not try to have oral sex with her because “she would have thrown up,” while denying that he drugged the girl and texting that he tried to take her beer away.
CNN also noted a Mays text exchange in which he was asked, "Did u do it?"
"No, lol," the 17-year-old responded. "She could barely move." In another conversation he denied that he'd raped the victim: "I'm pissed all I got was a hand job, though. I should have raped since everyone thinks I did."
It's going to be difficult for the defense to argue its case when Mays himself seemingly admitted to the fact that the accuser was not aware of her surroundings. It's one thing for someone who only heard about the incident to describe the victim as a "dead girl," but it's far more damaging for the defense when Mays himself described her that way. "Like a dead body" doesn't really fall in line with, "We had consensual sex."
And then there's this, an exchange between the victim and one of her friends, via Yahoo!:
"If that is [semen] on you that is [expletive] crazy," a friend texted her.
"I hate my life," the girl texted the friend at a different point. "I don't even know what the [expletive] happened to me."
Later she texted a friend, "I swear to God I don't remember doing anything with them. I remember hearing Trent's voice telling me to do something, but I said no."
These text messages aren't enough to ensure a guilty verdict, but three of the prosecution's material witnesses and the accuser are expected to testify today.