Araiza and the woman added more color to the civil lawsuit that continues on
Ex-Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza is hoping that the audio recording of a Dec. 7 meeting with the woman accusing him and two of his former San Diego State football teammates of gang rape and a San Diego County prosecutor will lead an NFL team to sign him once more.
His accuser is hoping for the exact opposite, as she wants accountability for the actions she knows Araiza and his former teammates committed at a party on SDSU’s campus in October 2021.
USA TODAY Sports spoke with both Araiza and the woman about the 101-minute audio recording of the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Trisha Amador, telling the woman and her attorney that no criminal charges would be filed against Araiza or his former teammates following their 124-day investigation that included four terabytes of data, more than 35 taped witness interviews, a physical exam of the woman and nine video clips of the woman’s sexual encounters that night.
“I don’t think it exonerates anybody,” the woman said about the recording of her and Amador, via USA TODAY Sports
On the other side of the civil lawsuit that continues to go on, Araiza and his agent, Joe Linta, believe it is enough for NFL teams to consider his punting services again. The Bills, after selecting him in the sixth round of last year’s NFL Draft, released him before the season began. He had won the punting job during the preseason.
Linta has sent the audio recording to “about 20 NFL teams” to get his client’s career back on track.
“I know the teams know the true facts,” Araiza told USA TODAY Sports. “They’ve heard the audio. They know this isn’t true. It’s that we need the public to understand as well. Because I think teams have a fear that if they sign me, there will be a little bit of backlash because the public has been told things that aren’t true.”
To break down the case, prosecutors had to recreate the timeline of that night, where the woman, who was 17 years old at the time and claims she was heavily intoxicated, was allegedly raped.
One of the biggest pieces of evidence they found was that Araiza had allegedly left the house party around 12:30 a.m., and prosecutors determined that the alleged rape of the woman occurred an hour later.
“He wasn’t even at the party anymore,” Amador told the woman, via Yahoo Sports. “All I know is that at that point, suspect Araiza is gone from the party.”
There were also video clips of the sexual encounters the woman had that night, including one that apparently showed two men in a bedroom. Other video clips showed Araiza’s teammate, Pa’a Ewaliko, on a couch in the living room during a separate sexual encounter.
While determining none of the men shown were Araiza in any of the video clips based off physical traits, prosecutors did not see any proof of force or lack of consent from the woman.
“Because of what’s in the video, I can’t prove a forceable sexual assault,” Amador told the woman.
One of the witnesses – friends of the woman were included in the witness interviews — also mentioned that the woman was approaching men at the party, saying “I want you to [expletive] me and if you don’t [expletive] me you’re a [expletive].”
“It’s alleged that one of those people that you approached was Pa’a and made that statement to Pa’a, and that is something that was heard by a separate independent witness,” Amador said.
The woman said she had “no recollection” of asking for sex, yet Amador said witnesses heard differently.
“The witnesses say…that shortly after you arrived at the party, you left and came back shortly thereafter. And you told [a friend], ‘I just had sex,’” Amador said to the girl, via Yahoo Sports. “You didn’t appear unhappy. You appeared to be having fun and that the encounter on the side of the house with Matt, suspect Araiza, was consensual.”
In the incident with Araiza, he admitted having sex with the woman that night during a call that was recorded by police a few days following the party. The incident occurred on the side of the house in a private area. He said he never went inside the house, let alone threw her on the bed face-first like the civil lawsuit states.
“We had a brief encounter and it is absolutely not how it’s been portrayed in the media or the lawsuit,” Araiza told USA TODAY Sports.
Another large part of this case is the woman being 17 years old at the time of the incident, and whether Araiza and his teammates knew that she was underage.
“A witness who was in the house gave a statement saying that at – at least one point in the party, that you made a statement telling people at the party you were 18,” Amador told the girl. “Another witness at the party, a different one, says that they specifically heard you say you were 18…”
The woman’s lawsuit says that she “informed Araiza that she attended Grossmont High School,” which would indicate that she was not 18. However, Amador mentioned that piece of the lawsuit during the audio recording, and the woman denied saying that.
“No. That was not me,” she replied.
Grossmont could also be in reference to Grossmont College, which is not far from SDSU’s campus.
“I didn’t say my age at all and nobody asked me,” the woman told USA TODAY Sports. “Matt didn’t ask me. None of the guys asked me. Nobody at the party asked me, so I just wasn’t prompted and I didn’t answer.”
Finally, the intoxication level of the woman could not be determined by prosecutors, which the woman didn’t like.
“Oh, that’s [expletive], like, that you can’t prove any of that,” she said after Amador explained the situation.
Araiza also noted never giving the woman a drink that night and that she didn’t look intoxicated to him. The woman claims she was drinking from a bottle of vodka that night.
“You’re described as being OK, not scared or distraught,” Amador explained to her. “Seemed happy, seemed consensual. And there’s no indication that you were at an intoxication level at this point.”
The woman’s lawyer Dan Gilleon told Fox News Digital that he has no problem taking the case to trial where “we’ll force Araiza to talk.”
“Team Araiza continues to litigate the case in the media because they know the information they’re leaking has no relevance whatsoever to the lawsuit,” Gilleon said. “Matt Araiza will dress up in a suit and tie for tv crews at a meaningless court hearing, but he won’t speak to the media like Jane Doe has and will continue to do. The first time Araiza had a chance to tell his side of the story was when he was contacted by the police. He took the fifth, asserting his right not to incriminate himself. Since then, he has remained silent as his attorneys leak irrelevant information to the media and attack the victim, apparently thinking that she’ll be bullied into dropping her case. It’s not going to happen. This case is going to trial, and we’ll force Araiza to talk.”
He also confirmed a report to USA TODAY Sports that he offered to settle the case for Araiza at $50,000, which was refused.
“Settling is admitting guilt,” Araiza noted. “That’s not the truth. That’s not what happened.”
Evaliko faces a separate criminal charge of child pornography possession after police found video clips on his iCloud account during their investigation. He has since pleaded not guilty.
Civil lawsuits are also pending for Araiza, Ewaliko and another former teammate, Zavier Leonard.