SAN DIEGO — A judge has decided to unseal records in a civil case involving a teenager claiming she was raped by former San Diego State University punter and former Buffalo Bills’ pick Matt Araiza during an off-campus house party in October 2021.
“I’m not the police chief, I don’t know what they’re going to say, but as far as I’m concerned, in this court, I have unsealed it with a protective order,” Judge Jeffrey Fraser said.
“We’re happy, we recognize that it’s a first step, we appreciate the judge’s thoughtful consideration of our motion to unseal these records, we believe these records are the best evidence,” Kristen Bush, one of Matt Araiza’s attorneys said. “This is an initial issue, it’s an initial hurdle to us accessing key evidence in this case, and Matt’s life has been destroyed by the false allegations that have been inserted by the plaintiff in this lawsuit.”
Araiza’s attorneys believe the video evidence would show Araiza was not involved in the alleged gang rape.
The evidence, now unsealed by the judge, is under a stay order and cannot be viewed for two weeks. There were discussions in the courtroom that this could go through more legal proceedings as the attorney for the San Diego Police Department said it would be illegal for them to turn over some evidence in the case because it would involved child pornography.
“We are going to object to the court even unsealing these videos because penal code 311.1 through 312.7 is very specific, the department must follow the law, they cannot release anything the court has described,” the attorney representing the San Diego Police Department said to the judge Thursday. She claims the department would be breaking the law in allowing the public to access the file.
Jane Doe’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, agreed with the police department’s attorney and did not want the evidence unsealed because he claims it would be considered child pornography.
“As far as the unsealing of the videos, it simply is a violation of the law for people to view child pornography, and that’s my primary concern, this is child pornography,” Dan Gilleon, attorney for Jane Doe said in an interview to FOX 5 after the hearing Thursday.
Thursday’s hearing was a battle over released videos and evidence in the case. San Diego Police Department has possession of the evidence, and Araiza’s attorneys want the evidence unsealed.
Araiza was inside the courtroom for the first time Thursday. When asked why he came to the hearing, his attorney said he wants to show the court how serious he is about this case and allegations.
Araiza’s attorneys say the evidence file, in the hands of the police department, has more evidence than just sensitive videos and may include cell phone data that they claim, could show Araiza leaving the party prior to the alleged rape incident.
The district attorney declined to file charges in December, against Araiza, after SDPD’s investigation.
Araiza did not comment after the hearing, but when pressed, acknowledged being in talks with an NFL team.
The civil suit is still ongoing with another court date for July.
As Araiza’s attorneys were leaving the courthouse, they alluded to potential counter suits.