Rainey's attorney: Victim insists no crime took place
The alleged victim in the domestic violence episode involving former University of Florida athlete Christopher Rainey says there was no crime and she wants the state of Florida to drop the charges, Rainey's attorney says.
Rainey, 24, was arrested and charged Thursday morning with simple domestic battery, a first-degree misdemeanor, in connection with the incident. He was released from jail Friday after his first appearance before a judge in connection with the case.
“The incident that occurred today is both troubling and unfortunate,” the victim wrote in an email to the judge. Rainey's attorney, Huntley Johnson, read the email to a reporter for The Sun in a telephone interview Friday.
“The incident was simply over a book bag with a cellphone in it, and possession of this bag. In no way did I feel physically threatened at any time,” the victim said in the email.
“Over the course of our relationship together, I have never been verbally or physically threatened by Chris Rainey. What happened today was a misunderstanding and should not affect his future in any way.”
According to an arrest report, Rainey was visiting his girlfriend at her apartment when they started arguing after she noticed he had a second cellphone while she was hugging him goodbye. He is alleged to have then chased and slapped her, according to the report.
Shortly after news of the arrest broke, Rainey, a former Gator football player, was waived from the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a statement, General Manager Kevin Colbert said Rainey's actions were “extremely disappointing.”
Rainey on Friday appeared before 8th Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Kreider to hear the terms of his pretrial release. He walked up to a podium at the Alachua County jail after Kreider called his name, as seen in a live video recording that was transmitted into Kreider's courtroom. The judge asked Rainey if he understood what he had been charged with.
“Yes sir,” Rainey said.
Johnson said evidence from the case showed the incident was not as serious as it appeared.
“I would like to point at that in the police report there were no marks on the young lady,” he said. “And if there was an open slapping then I would suggest there would have been marks on the young lady.”
Johnson said he spoke with the victim in the case and that she told Johnson she was adamant there was no crime committed. He said the two have been in a nine-month relationship and that she's not in fear of Rainey.
“They were tussling over a backpack which had his phone in it,” he said. “She indicates that she can see how someone from afar -- across the street -- would have thought there was a touching because they were fighting over the bag and she fell down.”
Johnson said the family specifically asked that the judge not impose a no-contact provision in his release decision.
“Mr. Rainey is unemployed because the Steelers cut him yesterday because of this event,” Johnson told Kreider, “I respectfully suggest there's a pretty good possibility he will not be unemployed in the future.”
Johnson explained how Rainey signed a lease and rents an apartment in Gainesville and that he would show up for his court date and wasn't a danger to the community.
Judge Kreider listened, and then spoke to Rainey.
He told him he could not possess any weapons or firearms and that he could have no contact with the victim.
“Now I understand that, according to Mr. Johnson, she wishes to have contact with you,” Kreider said, but the judge made clear that contacting her was a crime and a violation. He then released Rainey of his own recognizance until his court date.
Johnson said after the hearing that he did not wish to discuss how Rainey felt about the ordeal.
One of two things just happened here. One, she read that the Steelers released him and felt guilty (which she shouldn't have) about being involved in any way with his release or two, the witnesses that saw what happened didn't really see what happened. Either way, maybe next time Dan and friends should wait until they have all the evidence instead of reacting and acting on a bunch of eyewitnesses that now, might not have seen what they thought.