In the rape case against FIU baseball star Garrett Wittels, security video from a Bahamian casino could become a factor, as could the background of one accuser’s father.
Lawyers for Florida International University baseball phenom Garrett Wittels, charged with rape in the Bahamas after a night at the craps tables with two 17-year-old girls from Texas, are counting on surveillance footage from the casino to help vindicate him and two friends who also face rape charges.
But there is another wild card in the high-profile rape case: The father of one of the accusers — who chaperoned the girls on their visit to the Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island — has a controversial past. Several years ago, he was accused of planning to hire a woman to falsely claim she was raped at a professional sporting event. The sport’s governing body also accused him of plotting to use actors to stage a racially-charged fight in the stands in order to paint the fan base as hostile to minorities in a film he was making.
The organization also claimed separately in a lawsuit that he infringed on the sport’s trademark by seeking to market a sexually explicit Girls Gone Wild-type video.
The Miami Herald is not naming the father, or the sport, because to do so could possibly identify the daughter.
From the day the charges became public, the ballplayer’s father, Dr. Michael Wittels, has asserted it was the girls, and not Garrett and his friends, who were the aggressors. The security footage will allow prosecutors and ultimately a jury to gauge body language, behavior and sobriety.