(NEW YORK POST) – One of two women who prosecutors allege was raped by former Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. identified Winslow’s lawyer as her attacker Wednesday in a strange court scene.
The 54-year-old woman testified during a preliminary hearing to determine whether the 34-year-old Winslow — the NFL’s onetime highest-paid tight end — will stand trial after pleading not guilty last month to multiple counts of kidnapping, rape, indecent exposure and burglary.
But when asked by a prosecutor to point out the man who attacked her, she singled out Winslow’s attorney, Brian Watkins, who was sitting alongside the former Pro Bowl tight end, USA Today reports.
“The man in the middle,” the woman testified while referencing Watkins, who later emphatically denied assaulting her.
“Don’t put Brian Watkins, accused of rape,” Watkins told the newspaper. “Don’t do that, man. There will be defamation lawsuits all over the place.”
Watkins used the woman’s testimony to cast doubt on the charges against Winslow, who allegedly kidnapped and raped the homeless woman on March 13 and a 59-year-old woman on May 13, according to charging documents. If convicted, Winslow faces up to life in prison.
“Well, she did not describe our defense and our client and didn’t ID him in court,” Watkins later said outside the San Diego County courtroom. “She ID’d me. I didn’t have anything to do with this. You better not write that I did.”
Watkins — who, like Winslow, is African-American — characterized the woman’s testimony as a “very significant” development.
The woman was also unable to pick out Winslow’s photo from a lineup during the investigation, a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department deputy later testified. Two additional witnesses, including the second woman Winslow allegedly raped, are scheduled to testify Thursday, USA Today reports.
Two other witnesses in the case also could not identify Winslow in court on Wednesday, including a 58-year-old woman who said a man named “David” entered her home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and exposed himself in June. When asked Wednesday if Winslow was on her property that day, the woman could not identify him, KSWB reports.
Another alleged victim — a 71-year-old woman identified as Jane Doe 4 — said she found out about Winslow’s arrest while watching the news on June 8 and recognized him as the same man who barged into her home near Encinitas one day earlier. She later called police at the urging of a friend even though she didn’t think Winslow was going to harm her, saying she believed he went to the wrong mobile home in search of someone else, according to the station.
A sheriff’s deputy later testified that he responded to a mobile home park on June 7 after a woman said she spotted a stranger inside the home of her 86-year-old neighbor. The woman confronted the man identified as Winslow as he came outside, according to the deputy.
“He said he was looking for his red dog named Clifford,” the deputy testified.
Winslow — the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow — played 10 seasons in the NFL from 2004 to 2013 with the Jets, Browns, Buccaneers and Patriots. He was suspended in 2013 after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy and was arrested in November 2013 when a woman told police she saw him masturbating in a parked car outside a department store in New Jersey.
Winslow’s appearance, meanwhile, has changed significantly from his playing days, as noted by ProFootballTalk.com. Winslow has a slighter frame and was wearing glasses in court.