Matt Araiza Declaration to Sever Trial

Will Matt Araiza’s case be severed from the other defendants in the civil suit filed by Jane Doe in which she accuses former Aztec football players of gang rape at an off-campus party on October 16, 2021? Araiza seeks to have his trial proceed as originally scheduled on October 20th instead of waiting an additional four months to be tried with all of the defendants on the newly continued date of February 16, 2024. Nowlin Ewaliko, another defendant in the case, has also filed for severance. After hearing oral arguments today, Judge Braner has taken the matter under submission and will issue a ruling by next Friday.

Araiza was a punting star at San Diego State and signed with the Buffalo Bills in April 2022, only to be cut months later when Jane Doe filed her lawsuit. Araiza’s attorney, Kristen Bush, told Judge Braner Araiza still has an NFL agent but the agent has informed him he’s “untouchable” because of the nature of the allegations. It is imperative Araiza get to trial as the longer the delay, his opportunity moves further away, Bush emphatically emphasized. She then argued the strengths in Araiza’s case, specifically that he was not even in the room when the alleged assault occurred, prompting Judge Braner to say, “You telling me your client is going to win ends the story?”

Judge Braner though seemed to be siding with Araiza when he said Araiza is in a different place than the other defendants as his livelihood is at stake. He pointed to the interests of justice and prejudice standards, both legal reasons to grant severance.

But then on the other hand, Judge Braner raised the concern that by having a second trial, the “other defendants are going to lose that first take,” and a second trial would not give the defendants the same rich opportunity as the first trial. “Jury kinda tainted don’t you think?” he queried.

Jane Doe’s attorney, James Mitchell, argued there should be one trial as the facts are interrelated. He stated Araiza cannot have a separate trial as the reason Jane Doe ended up in that house was because of Araiza. Jane Doe alleges that while she was intoxicated, Araiza had sex with her on a side yard, and then led her inside the house and threw her onto the bed where she was gang raped. Jane Doe was 17 at the time, but according to the defendants told people she was 18. If the jury finds Araiza led her to the room, he is liable to the same extent as the other defendants.

Araiza adamantly denies Jane Doe’s claims, stating he never entered the home with Jane Doe and believes he left the party prior to Jane Doe going into the bedroom. Videos taken that night do not show Araiza in the room, which Araiza’s attorneys argue fully exonerate him, but Mitchell argued the videos don’t show the entire room. He further stated it’s too early to make a ruling as additional depositions still need to be taken. In fact, Jane Doe’s deposition is scheduled for next week.

Attorney Thomas Buckley, who represents Ewaliko, argued timing is also at issue for Ewaliko. He said Ewaliko was red shirted as a freshman and received a scholarship to SDSU, but now has left the university and the only job he can obtain is a laborer position in Washington State. It is unfair to him to have to wait, and Buckley cannot go back to him and tell him there are two paths to justice, just because he does not possess NFL prospects.

About Aleida K. Wahn, Esq.

I am an attorney, award-winning true crime writer, and legal analyst of criminal cases. I cover criminal trials and write stories and books about compelling, gripping, and unforgettable cases that impact our world. I take you into the courtroom in high-profile murder trials, rape cases, crimes of passion, cases involving mental illness, deviant behavior, and more. I have a deep passion for true crime, criminal law, and all aspects of the criminal justice system. I have appeared as an expert on true crime shows, including “48 Hours,” “Snapped,” and “The Dead Files,” and provided legal analysis on high-profile criminal trials on Court TV, the Law & Crime Trial Network, Fox 5 News, ABC 10 News, and KUSI News. I also create and host shows with the Del Mar Television Producers Group, addressing criminal justice and social issues in recent criminal trials.

I provided my insight and legal analysis on Court TV and the Law & Crime Trial Network of the high-profile trial of former NFL star Kellen Winslow Jr. It was a trial that captured the nation as the heralded ex-football star with fame, fortune, and a famous name stood accused of multiple rapes and other sex crimes involving five women. As the trial delved into shocking facts, complicated legal issues, and unexpected twists and turns, I was there for every minute. After the trial, I wrote a book on the case, going behind the headlines to share the extraordinary details of what happened inside the courtroom. Judging Winslow Jr.: From NFL Star to Serial Rapist? Inside the Shocking Rape Trial of Kellen Boswell Winslow II is now available on Amazon.

I am passionate about telling true crime stories, as these penetrating stories have the power to move us all, while highlighting societal issues which need to be addressed. I have personally seen the human devastation which is present in each trial and believe there is a lesson to be learned in every single case. It is through awareness and examining critical issues society can effect change and even make new laws. To learn more, please visit:

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