The Missoula County Attorney’s Office was trying to send a message that it takes sexual assault seriously when it “cherry-picked” facts in charging former University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson with rape, a motion to dismiss that charge claims.
The motion filed by Johnson defense attorney Kirsten Pabst contends the state’s complaint against Johnson omits critical facts, that incomplete information was improperly released to reporters, and that Johnson’s right to due process was violated.
The result: “The world had been told that Jordan is a rapist and regardless of an eventual acquittal, that will never change,” wrote Pabst, who until this spring was the chief deputy in the Missoula County Attorney’s Office.
Johnson pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Missoula County District Court to a charge of sexual intercourse without consent. He’s accused of raping a woman while watching a movie with her at her house on Feb. 4.
Pabst filed her motion late Tuesday afternoon.
The motion notes the “unfortunate context” of the current U.S. Justice Department investigation into how the County Attorney’s Office, the Missoula Police Department and the UM police handle sexual assault cases.
“Understandably, the state would like to demonstrate its reflexive and compassionate response to victims of sexual crimes and demonstrate to the community at large that the county’s hard-line stance against sex crimes is having a deterrent effect,” Pabst’s motion said.
The state could have chosen any number of cases to make that point, it argues, but Johnson’s isn’t one of them.
“When all relevant facts are taken into account and the portrayal of the event is corrected and fleshed out, an entirely different picture emerges of the sexual event between Jordan and ‘Jane Doe’ on Feb. 4,” according to the motion.