Johnson's lawyer says no fake ID involved

Watkins says discrepancy was over zip code

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Martese Johnson's lawyer, Daniel Watkins, addressed the press at a media release on Thursday evening on the Downtown Mall.

The lawyer of third-year College student Martese Johnson spoke at a press conference Thursday night at the Downtown Mall. Daniel Watkins, of the firm Williams Mullen, spoke as Johnson’s mother and brother stood behind him.

Watkins gave a summary of the events that took place early Wednesday morning. After a Trinity employee approached Johnson and asked for his identification, Johnson provided a valid Illinois identification card, Watkins said.

The discrepancy was over the zip code on the identification card, he said.

“Martese presented a valid Illinois state identification card, issued in 2011,” Watkins said.

“The employee then asked Martese for a zip code and he recited his mothers Chicago city zip code at her current address, which is different from the Chicago city zip code on the identification card, which was nearly four years old.”

Johnson never presented a fake identification card, Watkins said. He also said Johnson is an upstanding young man with a bright future, and that he has worked hard to be a well-respected member of the University community.

“Martese has worked hard to ensure his bright future,” Watkins said. “And we intend to fight the criminal charges against him with the utmost vigor.”

Watkins said his present goals are to ensure Johnson “receives due process under the law and protect his good name.”

Johnson and Watkins have both met with the Virginia State Police as part of an investigation into the incident the Virginia State Police are conducting per the request of Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney.The investigation includes both an administrative review and a criminal investigation.

Johnson and Watkins have also met with University President Teresa Sullivan regarding Johnson’s arrest.

“Sullivan expressed her remorse,” Watkins said. “And told Martese he has her support.”

Johnson also prepared a statement, which Watkins read on his behalf.

“As the officers held me down one thought raced through my mind: how could this happen?” Watkins read from the statement. “I still believe in our community — I know this community will support me during this time.”

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