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Jordan Johnson takes the stand in rape trial

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Feb 25 2013 12:42:02 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 25 2013 06:25:38 PM MST
JOHNSON ON THE STAND
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Former University of Montana Grizzly quarterback Jordan Johnson took the stand in his own trial.

The prosecution rested it's case Monday afternoon. And the defense attorneys surprised some in the courtroom by calling Johnson as one of their first witnesses.

Monday marks day nine and the third week of the trial that was scheduled to last 11 days.

Johnson's attorney Kirsten Pabst asked Johnson about his life growing up in Eugene, OR., and his relationship with his dad, who was also his high school football coach.

"I was lucky enough to have him as my coach in high school football," said a slightly emotional Johnson. "I think we're a lot closer than most father and sons."

Pabst also asked Johnson about his decision to come play football at the University of Montana. Johnson told the court he liked Missoula, it felt like home. He also said then head football coach Robin Pflugrad had a big influence. Pflugrad is a family friend of the Johnson's.

Before court wrapped up for the day, Johnson started to discuss his relationship with the alleged victim, how the two met, and their interactions the night before the alleged rape at the Forester's Ball.

Pabst asked Johnson why he wanted to tell his story to the jury. "Because it's what happened, and people deserve to know," Johnson said.

More testimony from Johnson is expect Wednesday when court resumes. He'll likely recount the night of the alleged rape.

The defense also called a forensic nurse, and the Griz football team chaplain, Mike McGowan. McGowan told the court he leads prayer before and after football games for those players who like to participate.

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Before resting it's case Monday afternoon prosecutors called four witnesses to the stand, including family members of the alleged victim.

In a relatively quick statement to the court, the woman's brother got emotional as he recounted the night his sister told him about the alleged rape and how he says it affected her.

The brother, who's name is being withheld to protect the alleged victim's identity, told the court his sister told him she'd been raped. But he didn't ask for details because he didn't want his sister to have to "go through it again."

The brother also told the jury, after he talked with his sister about the alleged incident, he saw her have several breakdowns, where he describes she cried uncontrollably.

Johnson's defense attorney David Paoli asked the young man about his interaction with prosecutors prior to him taking the stand. He agreed he had met with them on a couple occasions, one of which was how to handle the situation if the case were to be brought up.

The brother agreed he was told by prosecutors not to retaliate or take any action.

Paoli then asked the brother about a 'tweet' he sent on the social media website Twitter, after Paoli interviewed him over  the phone.

The brother agreed he had tweeted "When this all over you'll get what you deserve." Paoli asked if that was a threat, the brother said it was not.

The woman's mother also took the stand Monday morning, her name is also being withheld. She too recounted the night her daughter told her about the alleged incident. The woman's mother told the court she cried uncontrollably when her daughter told her about the alleged rape.

When the woman testified she told the court her parents were not in the courtroom because she didn't want them to see her 'like this.' The mother agreed she did not listen to her daughter's testimony. Telling the court she didn't think her daughter wanted her to be there, and that she didn't think she could stand to listen to the details.

"I couldn't bare to hear what she went through, and see her get upset about it. It was just too painful," she said.

The mother also testified about coming to campus in March 2012. She said she spoke with some UM officials, including the Dean of Students and her daughter's professor. She said her husband spoke with UM President Royce Engstrom with concerns about comments then head football coach Robin Pflugrad made about Johnson.

The woman's father testified in court as well. He recounted the night his daughter told him about the alleged rape. Agreeing he didn't ask for details. Her father also discussed visits to campus, telling the court he didn't meet with UM President Engstrom until July, almost 4 months after Athletic Director Jim O'Day and coach Pflugrad were dismissed.

When asked about their daughter's childhood, both the woman's mother and father said they would call it normal. The alleged victim's mother told the court she was not aware of her daughter ever being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and was surprised to learn of daughter's year of counseling.

You can follow live twitter updates from the courtroom here.