No Criminal Sexual Assault Charges for UFC’s Conor McGregor but Can His Accuser File a Civil Lawsuit Like NFL’s Deshaun Watson’s alleged victims?
What was the criminal allegation against Conor McGregor?
Recently, prosecutors in Miami decided not to pursue criminal charges against UFC fighter Conor McGregor following an alleged incident in which the alleged victim stated that he attempted to force himself (kissing) upon her in a bathroom during an NBA Finals basketball game. Unlike the case against Deshaun Watson, however, there was only one alleged victim while Watson had over 60 alleged victims. Watson’s case, unlike McGregor’s also made its way before two grand juries both of which failed to indict him on criminal charges. McGregor’s case never left the prosecutor’s office and is now closed!
Civil vs. Criminal Liability – What is the burden of proof and who bears the burden?
McGregor’s case was not nearly as public as Watson’s matter, but it nevertheless presents an opportunity to explain criminal vs. civil allegations along with the burden of proof. While McGregor will not face any criminal prosecution, his alleged victim can and still may bring a civil lawsuit against him and potentially even the arena’s owners where the incident allegedly occurred.
When most think of sexual assault allegation, their mind quickly goes to criminal charges and jail. This is normal and usually the legal aspect of these cases follows that trend. Civil lawsuits often follow criminal charges when the alleged perpetrator has financial means as in the case of Deshaun Watson and what could be in the McGregor case.
Civil lawsuits, however, are very different from criminal prosecution. As many of my readers already know, the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is a “by a preponderance of the evidence” while the burden of proof in a criminal case is guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The burden in a civil case is on the plaintiff (victim) while the burden in a criminal case is on the State.
The burden of proof in civil cases is much lower which is the reason why many civil cases settle. While the burden of proof is different, the rules of evidence still apply to civil lawsuits. Evidence obtained or discovered during a civil lawsuit is admissible in a criminal prosecution. Further, while there is a relatively short statute of limitation in civil matters (2-3 years depending on the jurisdiction), it’s much longer on the criminal side and in some cases indefinite.
5th Amendment Right Against Self Incrimination & Civil Lawsuits
While the criminal case against McGregor appears to be over, you can bet that his attorneys will quickly invoke his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, if anything in his potential testimony at a deposition could give legs to a criminal case. While obviously McGregor wants to limit his civil exposure, he doesn’t want to deal with criminal charges. In civil lawsuits, a person can’t usually refuse to answer a question with the only exception being attorney client privilege or self-incrimination (5th Amendment.)
While a lack of a response can prevent possible criminal prosecution, there is nothing stopping a plaintiff’s lawyer from using it to settle a civil lawsuit.
What could be McGregor’s possible legal strategy moving forward?
Right now, McGregor team of attorneys is playing the proper strategy which is deny, deny, deny but behind closed doors, they may be talking some type of civil settlement that includes confidentially provisions. Making a statement about a potential criminal incident is never a good strategy and it will usually only hurt your case.
Answering questions or making statements open you up to loaded questions from prosecutors and police. For more watch my video on talking to police. If you have more questions about sex crime or criminal charges in general I encourage you read my book or watch one of my 30 videos.
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