The Missoula County District Court has set a Feb. 8 date for the rape trial of suspended University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said the judge has set aside 11 days for the trial, in which Johnson is accused of raping a female acquaintance at her home in February of 2012.

Van Valkenburg said the defense has asked for access to potentially thousands of text messages on the cellphone belonging to the alleged victim. According to Van Valkenburg, many of those texts have nothing whatsoever to do with the case, and the judge will have to make the final determination as to whether Johnson's defense team may have access to them.

In the interview attached below, Van Valkenburg said the Missoulian "overplayed" the matter of how many prosecuting attorneys will be working on the case, and that "it is not true that there are five attorneys assigned to the case." He said Deputy County Attorney Suzy Boylan has been assigned to prosecute the case, and that the Montana Attorney General's office has provided an attorney from their prosecutor services bureau to assist her. Another Missoula attorney, Adam Deurk, is helping on the case on a pro bono basis.Van Valkenburg added that he and Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Clark provided some assistance to Boylan at the outset.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg

Due to the high-profile nature of the case, the prosecutor's office is asking the judge for a large jury pool, in order to find jurors who have not already formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant. He says neither he nor the defense has entertained the idea of a change of venue for the trial.

If found guilty of sexual intercourse without consent, Johnson could receive a maximum sentence of up to 100 years in prison, and/or a $50,000 fine.

The trial will begin February 8th, 2013 in Missoula District Court.


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