Attorneys for Trey Songz filed an explosive response Tuesday (Feb. 15) to a lawsuit accusing the singer of sexual assault, claiming that the alleged victim’s lawyer tried to pay off a witness to corroborate the claims. The alleged victim’s attorney Billboard the claim is false and has already been discredited.
In a motion filed in Miami court, Songz claimed that Ariel E. Mitchell, an attorney for accuser Jauhara Jeffries, tried to pay an unnamed witness more than $100,000 to lie about the alleged assault. The filing said the misconduct was so severe that the case should be dismissed outright as punishment.
“Plaintiff and Ms. Mitchell have engaged in serious misconduct, and it warrants a serious sanction,” wrote attorneys Jeffrey A. Neiman and Derick Vollrath, who represent Songz.
When reached for comment later on Tuesday, Mitchell told Billboard that the allegations in the filing were not only false but suggested they might be defamatory. She said the same claims of witness tampering had been raised by Songz’s legal team last year and that she’d already been cleared by the Florida Bar.
“If they believed that I committed such an egregious action like bribing a witness, I would not be practicing law right now,” Mitchell said. “This is an attempt, and a pathetic one at that, to shift the narrative from what Trey Songz has been accused of.”
In a statement to Billboard, a spokeswoman for the Florida Bar seemed to dispute Mitchell’s claim. The rep said there was an “open case against Ms. Mitchell” that was being assessed by bar staff. Such investigations are confidential and the group declined to share any additional details.
The bitter back and forth came amid a lawsuit that claims Songz assaulted Jeffries at a Miami nightclub during a New Year’s Eve celebration in 2017. As Jeffries danced on a couch wearing a “dress with a high slit up the back,” she says, the singer violated her with his fingers. Songz has denied the allegations.
In Tuesday’s filing, Songz claimed an unnamed “Witness #1” was present at the time of the alleged incident and can testify that an assault did not occur. The filing said the same witness later met with Mitchell for a dinner in April 2021, during which the attorney tried to persuade her to change her testimony.
“Ms. Mitchell also informed me that if I changed my testimony to corroborate [Plaintiff’s] version of events and testified on [Plaintiff’s] behalf, that she would pay me between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on the case’s ultimate settlement amount, if any,” the witness said, according to Tuesday’s filing.
Mitchell says the allegations had already been “thoroughly investigated” by Florida’s bar, and that she would be filing a response in court to confirm as much. She said that she did have dinner with the witness in question, but that nothing like the accused tampering had taken place.
“They might want to withdraw it before I sue them for defamation,” Mitchell said of Tuesday’s filing.
Mitchell and her partner George Vrabeck are also representing Dylan Gonzalez, another woman who has accused Songz of sexual assault but has not yet filed a lawsuit. Songz has denied those allegations, too.
UPDATE: This story was updated Feb 16 at 10:48 EST with a statement from the Florida Bar.