Browns 6th round draft pick, DT Caleb Brantley, was cleared of battery charges by the State Attorney of Florida. He had been accused of punching a woman and seriously injuring her. From the beginning the accusation was disputed by a third-party witness. This explains why Cleveland drafted Brantley in spite of the April 13 incident.
The State Attorney's said there was no reliable evidence to charge Brantley. Because of the notoriety of the complaint, they issued a statement detailing why no charges were brought.
Because of "the notoriety involved in this matter," the release outlined four reasons for not charging the 6-2, 307-pound defensive tackle:
* The alleged victim had been drinking heavily despite being underaged, and was initially un-cooperative. He said she initially denied being assaulted and has little or no memory of what actually happened.
* Witnesses on her behalf had also been drinking and provided conflicting accounts of the incident, which called "into serious question the accuracy of what they say.''
* Their testimony contradicted that of Brantley and witnesses on his behalf, and "most importantly an apparently neutral witness who supports Brantley's version of events."
* Finally, Cervone said reports of a significant injury to the alleged victim were inaccurate and that any minor injury she sustained was "inconsistent with any great force having been used against her."
He added that the victim's friends engaged Brantley in an unpleasant verbal exchange, "during which the alleged victim began to physically punch or assault Brantley, causing him to shove her away.''
Citing Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Cervone said "Brantley had the legal right to defend himself by pushing away someone who was punching and assaulting him. While it may not be popularly approved of or morally appropriate, that the alleged victim is a female of smaller stature than he, does not change that.''
Cervone stressed that "there is a clear lack of evidence to prove guilt of any criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt.''
He said it would be inappropriate to file charges, and closed the case.
The Browns did due diligence before the draft and believed the charges would come to nothing. As a result, they got a player with 2nd round talent in the 6th round.
Here's where the real rub comes in. The false accusation cost Brantley millions of dollars because he dropped from the second round to the sixth round. Good for the Browns but not for Brantley.