Brandon Winston

was born in Camp Lejeune, N.C.,

the son of a U.S. Marine

and a math teacher.

His family moved to Brooklyn, NY.

His mother taught math in

the New York school system.

His father became

a New York City firefighter who spent

months working in the rubble of the Twin Towers.

He received a scholarship to

Phillips Andover Academy

through a program designed for

gifted inner-city students.

He attended St. John’s College,

in Santa Fe, N.M.,

graduating after taking a year off

to play saxophone in a band.

Mr. Winston was accepted

to six law schools:


In his first year,

he met Kamilah Willingham in a course

called the Recording Artists Project.

After the course ended

their paths diverged for a while,

but by late 2010 they were back in touch,

especially after Ms. Willingham returned

from a trip to Africa.

She called him “BJ,” his initials.

Jan. 14th, 2011

Video from The Hunting Ground

While at Ms. Willingham’s apartment,

Ms. Willingham, her friend, Mr. Winston, and another law school student

started drinking Bailey’s and hot chocolate,

and then moved on to Jack Daniels and Coke, and beer.

Defense Attorney Norman Zalkind
questioning Ms. Willingham:

Norman Zalkind:
And at some point you brought out some cocaine?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
And you put some out on the table.
Norman Zalkind:
And by the way, you know that giving out cocaine to anyone is a crime?

Around 11 p.m. they took a cab to the Middlesex Lounge, where they continued to drink.

They danced and socialized with other people at the bar,

and then Mr. Winston and REDACTED began to dance.

She kissed him, and he kissed her back. They continued kissing and dancing.

When the bar closed, they walked a few blocks to find a cab,

and then returned to Ms. Willingham’s apartment.

Me and my girlfriend

kind of just flopped down…

face first on my bed…"

she tells CNN.

Mr. Winston saw REDACTED in bed.

He got in and woke her up; they resumed kissing.

With her help he removed her shirt;

he struggled with her bra for a moment before giving up.

They both passed out.

Video from The Hunting Ground

Court testimony of

Brandon Winston

Brandon Winston:
I woke up to find a body rubbing against mine and a tongue in my mouth.
Norman Zalkind:
And who did you think that was?
Brandon Winston:
I thought it was REDACTED.
Norman Zalkind:
And at some point did you find out it wasn’t REDACTED?
Brandon Winston:
It wasn’t REDACTED.
Norman Zalkind:
How long did that take?
Brandon Winston:
It took me ten seconds after I came to, to realize it… Kamilah’s legs, she wrapped her legs around me.
Norman Zalkind:
And then what did you do?
Brandon Winston:
I stopped.
Brandon Winston:
I said, “We should probably stop.”
Norman Zalkind:
Did she say something to you first?
Brandon Winston:
Yes. She said, “Don’t you have a wife at home?”
Norman Zalkind:
And did you have a wife at home?
Brandon Winston:
No. I had a girl that I was involved with that, like I said earlier, that I had told (Ms. Willingham) at Cambridge Common
Brandon Winston:
that I didn’t want to be with, but was trying to get out of the relationship at the time.

Mr. Winston got up to sleep on the couch,

but Ms. Willingham encouraged him

to sleep in her roommate’s room.

Her roommate was out of town.

Kamilah Willingham, talking about her experience reporting her alleged assault at Harvard.

Video from The Hunting Ground


Norman Zalkind:
And do you remember his saying he would sleep on the couch?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
And you told him to sleep in Andreea’s room?
Kamilah Willingham:
I told him that he could, yeah.
Norman Zalkind:
And at some point you went into the room where Brandon was sleeping?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind: You went into that room. And that was after he had, you claim, he had done these things to you and after he had talked to you about REDACTED; is that right?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
And he was half asleep, right?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
And he said "I didn't do anything. We hooked up, then I fell asleep.” Or something like that. Is that what he told you?
Kamilah Willingham:

Early that morning, after a conversation with Ms. Willingham,

Mr. Winston left to go to work.

Later, he and Ms. Willingham texted.

Ms. Willingham told Cambridge Police she found a used condom in the bathroom trash.

Both women said they believed Mr. Winston had intercourse with REDACTED

while she was passed out.

Neither police nor prosecutors requested a sample of Mr. Winston's DNA.

Three years later, at the insistence of Mr. Winston and his defense lawyer, the condom was tested.

It contained DNA belonging to Ms. Willingham and an unknown male.

It contained no DNA belonging to Mr. Winston.

Video from The Hunting Ground


Norman Zalkind: Now, before you had texted Brandon, you and REDACTED agreed not to show you were mad, you were planning to text him?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
You were going to be casual as possible when you were texting him?
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
And at some point you looked in the trash; is that right.
Kamilah Willingham:
Norman Zalkind:
And pretty close to the top of the trash there was a condom?
Kamilah Willingham:

Superior Court Judge
Maynard Kirpalani ruled:

In the present case, the defendant argues that the condom and the DNA evidence should be admitted to show the bias of Kamilah Willingham, the Commonwealth's primary witness against the defendant. This court agrees.
On the night of January 18, 2011, Willingham and the defendant met at Cambridge Commons to discuss the incident at issue in this case.
During that meeting, Willingham informed the defendant that she found the condom in her bathroom, and proceeded to ask him a number of questions regarding whether he had used the condom on the night of the alleged incident.
The DNA evidence, however, later showed that the DNA found on the condom matched Willingham and an unidentified male, but did not match the defendant.
The jury could further infer that her questioning of the defendant was disingenuous.
This evidence is relevant, at a minimum, to demonstrate Willingham's bias against the defendant, as the jury could infer that Willingham knew, at the time that she questioned the defendant about the condom, that the condom was not his.

A Middlesex County grand jury declined to indict Mr. Winston on any charge

related to Ms. Willingham, and also declined to indict him

on the most serious charges involving her friend.

It is extremely rare for a grand jury to decline a prosecutor's request for indictment.

The grand jury returned two charges against Mr. Winston

for allegedly assaulting Ms. Willingham's friend.


Mr. Foreman, as to Indictment No. 8 2012-1160-001, charging the defendant, Brandon Winston, with indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, what say you, Mr. Foreman, is the defendant guilty or not guilty?


Not guilty.

Jurors voted eleven to one to acquit Mr. Winston of all charges.

The jurors reached a compromise,

finding him guilty of a single, nonsexual misdemeanor.

Ms. Willingham was the keynote speaker
at the 2015 National Sexual Assault Conference,
where she continued to accuse Mr. Winston of
a crime he did not commit.

She has become a celebrity.

Harvard Law School Faculty reviewed the findings of the Administrative Board and determined that they were not supported by substantial evidence, the applicable standard. The faculty dismissed the case.

In 2015, Mr. Winston returned to Harvard Law School to pursue his law degree.

He hopes to merge his legal education with his creative side to do something innovative.

Brandon Winston Trial


     The Hunting Ground is being marketed as a documentary. Its creators have repeatedly stated that the film is a carefully-vetted, accurate depiction of the stories it tells.  The film bears the imprimatur of CNN, a network that calls itself  “The Most Trusted Name in News.”

But an admission by one of the film’s top producers makes clear that this project’s intent was to advocate a position, not to provide a balanced story. In an email encouraging Erica Kinsman, a Florida State University student who accused former FSU football star Jameis Winston of rape, to appear in the film, one of the producers wrote the following:

      “We do not operate the same way as journalists—this is a film project that is very much in the form of advocacy for victims, so there would be no insensitive questions or need to get the perpetrators’ side.” Amy Herdy, investigative producer for Chain Camera Pictures, Nov. 11, 2013. Click here to read the entire email, and another regarding the FSU case.

There are critical omissions and distortions in the The Hunting Ground’s depiction of what occurred between Kamilah Willingham, her friend, and Brandon Winston on the 14th and 15th of January, 2011. The filmmakers ignored key facts that no responsible journalist would have overlooked. Among them are the following:

  • The filmmakers never made a serious attempt to hear Mr. Winston’s story. They did not contact him until after the film premiered at Sundance. Mr. Winston referred them to his attorney, Norman Zalkind, who was never contacted by them. In an interview on CNN following the film’s broadcast, director Dick Kirby acknowledged that producers did not attempt to contact the alleged perpetrators until the film was already being shown.
  • A condom that Ms. Willingham said that she found in her wastebasket the morning after the alleged assault and gave to police as evidence is never mentioned in the film. The condom was tested for Mr. Winston’s DNA at his and his defense attorney’s insistence; it contained DNA from Ms. Willingham and an unknown male; it contained no DNA from Mr. Winston. At the trial, Ms, Willingham said she did not know the condom was hers when she gave it to police. The judge ruled that the jury could use this evidence in assessing Ms. Willingham’s credibility and bias against Mr. Winston. (In Limine Order on DNA)
  • In the film, Ms. Willingham clearly implies that Mr. Winston drugged her and her friend.  There was never any evidence that Mr. Winston drugged the women, and at the trial the prosecution agreed to exclude any such allegations. (See order below) Despite her alleged suspicions, Ms. Willingham, a third-year law student, waited five days – until Jan. 19th – before getting medical attention. Learn more about the Brandon Winston Trial here.