Attorneys for former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. say five women who accused him of rape and lewd conduct invented the allegations to prey on his wealth, while prosecutors say his fame empowered him to prey on the most vulnerable.
Winslow’s celebrity status was mentioned by both sides in closing arguments Tuesday before the jury started deliberations.
Winslow is accused of raping three women and exposing himself or exhibiting lewd conduct to two others. All five women, including a homeless female, a hitchhiker and an immigrant who speaks limited English, testified during the trial that began May 20.
The son of Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts.
“Kellen Winslow took from these women what he wanted. Kellen Winslow took from these women again and again and again,” prosecutor Dan Owens said. “Do not allow his status or his name to take away from that.”
Defense attorney Marc Carlos questioned the credibility of the women’s claims of sexual assault and argued the sex was consensual.
The prosecution “wants you to forget about the lack of evidence,” Carlos told the jury.
He pointed to inconsistencies in the women’s testimonies. The prosecution said the crux of their stories remained unchanged and that the case was supported by evidence that included traces of Winslow’s DNA on one of the accuser’s pants and GPS locations that placed Winslow at locations where the accusers said the assaults occurred.
The five women testified that they didn’t know about Winslow was a professional athlete when they met him. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted.
Winslow played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets before leaving the NFL after the 2013 season.
He could face life in prison if convicted.