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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Legal Matters

Report: Deshaun Watson is subject of grand jury investigation

Deshaun Watson

A new report indicates that Deshaun Watson is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation that could result in charges against the Houston Texans quarterback.

According to Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston, a grand jury has been convened to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against Watson stemming from 22 lawsuits filed against him alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The Harris County District Attorney’s office is reportedly in the process of sending out subpoenas to possible witnesses, and refused to comment on the report.

A grand jury is convened to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against an individual. It will not make a determination over whether Watson is guilty or not guilty, but if it does find sufficient evidence, it could indict Watson, leading to a potential trial.

Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct, and ten women have filed formal police complaints. Watson is in camp with the Texans despite wanting to be traded, though a deal does not appear likely right now.

Omar Vizquel sued by autistic bat boy alleging sexual harassment

Omar Vizquel

Former MLB All-Star Omar Vizquel is being sued by a former Birmingham Barons batboy who alleges he was sexually harassed by the former infielder.

Vizquel, 54, played in MLB from 1989-2012, winning 11 gold gloves during his career. He later went into coaching and became a manager in the Chicago White Sox’s minor league system.

Vizquel was promoted to the manager of the Barons (Double-A) after the 2018 season but was dismissed in 2019 after the White Sox investigated allegations into Vizquel.

The former batboy, who is 25, alleges that Vizquel told him he was sexually interested in men. The batboy told allegedly made it clear to Vizquel that he was not interested in a relationship. That did not stop Vizquel from allegedly approaching the batboy from behind a few times while partially undressed. The batboy alleges Vizquel exposed a fully or partially erect penis to him numerous times, with an alleged aim of sexual gratification. The batboy alleges Vizquel brought him into the shower once and asked the batboy to wash his back for him.

Vizquel was initially suspended with pay as the allegations were investigated. He was fired by the White Sox in September.

The batboy believes Vizquel had a pattern of treating batboys that way. The lawsuit states that a Detroit Tigers batboy tweeted in 2015 that “Omar Vizquel told me first day batboys have to clean the coaches backs in the showers.”

Larry Brown Sports found the tweet. The tweet includes a crying laughing emoji, which makes it pretty clear the Tigers batboy found Vizquel’s comment to be a joke.

That Tigers batboy told The Athletic he found the comment odd and thought it was a joke. That person said he did not wash Vizquel’s back.

Vizquel was also arrested in 2016 for alleged physical and emotional abuse of his wife. Vizquel denied the abuse allegations and was never charged. But his wife filed for divorce proceedings last year.

Ezekiel Elliott once again sued over alleged dog attack

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott has been sued multiple times for his dogs allegedly attacking people, and the latest accuser is seeking a massive sum of money from the Dallas Cowboys star.

According to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ, a woman named Jennifer Gampper says she is Elliott’s neighbor in Frisco, Texas, and was attacked by one of his dogs on May 20, 2021. Gampper says a landscaping company, Perfect Synthetic Grass, was doing work at Elliott’s house when the running back’s dog escaped. Gampper claims she suffered serious and permanent injuries when Elliott’s dog attacked her. She is also suing the landscaping company.

Gampper is seeking more than $1 million in the lawsuit.

Elliott’s lawyer, Frank Salzano, told TMZ that Elliott is “concerned” about his neighbor.

“However, as in most disputes, there are extenuating circumstances to this matter which will impact the legal proceedings which we are not at liberty to disclose,” Salzano said. “As such, we have no further comment at this time.”

Police previously investigated the attack and listed Gampper as one of the “victims.” The police report said that three of Elliott’s dogs had escaped that day. Elliott was issued three citations. Elliott’s rottweiler, Ace, had a “dangerous dog hearing” after the incident and was required to be removed from the city.

Gampper’s lawsuit is at least the third against Elliott stemming from his dogs’ alleged behavior. Elliott was sued earlier this year after an employee at a pet resort claimed he was violently attacked by the Cowboys star’s dog. Elliott’s dogs were also accused of attacking a pool cleaner last year.

Vanessa Bryant settles lawsuit with mother Sofia over owed money

Vanessa-Bryant

Vanessa Bryant has settled a lawsuit with her mother, ending a situation that had gotten ugly.

Sofia Laine was suing her daughter over what she said was lost wages. She claimed that she was owed money for babysitting services she provided over the years for her grandchildren. She claimed in the suit that Vanessa kicked her out of the house that Kobe allegedly bought for her. She also alleged that Kobe said he would take care of her for the rest of her life.

As of late March, Vanessa was seeking to get the suit dismissed. Instead, she ended up settling for an undisclosed amount, according to TMZ Sports.

The settlement should have taken place long ago. That would have spared both sides from having negative comments and ugly allegations spread through the media. Vanessa herself ended up issuing a scathing response to her mother in September that did not reflect well on either side.

Jeff Gladney issues response after being released by Vikings

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney issued a response on Tuesday after being released by the Minnesota Vikings following an indictment.

The Vikings said they were releasing Gladney immediately upon reading his indictment. Gladney was charged with domestic violence. The indictment alleges Gladney “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly“ causing bodily injury to the alleged victim during an April 2 incident.

Gladney’s agent issued a statement in which he said the cornerback should still be considered innocent until proven guilty. The agent also emphasized that the Vikings’ decision has no reflection of whether Gladney is guilty.

Gladney, 24, was the No. 31 overall pick in last year’s draft out of TCU. He started 15 games as a rookie.

He is accused of beating up his girlfriend in Texas in April. Gladney allegedly became upset over the contents on his girlfriend’s cell phone and began assaulting her with closed fists. He is also alleged to have strangled her and dragged her across the floor of an apartment by her hair. His case will be going to trial.

Exclusive: Julio Jones, Roddy White sued by cannabis company for alleged fraud, money laundering

Julio Jones

Julio Jones and Roddy White are being sued by a cannabis company for alleged fraud and money laundering, among other allegations.

A cannabis business called “Genetix” filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 21 that names Jones, White and White’s company “SLW Holdings, Inc.” as one of the defendants.

Genetixs, which is comprised of five members including White’s SLW company, says they obtained a cannabis license from the Department of Cannabis Regulation through its Social Equity Program.

The business says it intended to take part in a legal cannabis operation, following the guidelines in California.

Genetixs leased a facility in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. in Feb. 2020 where they intended to cultivate and grow cannabis in accordance with state regulations. However, the complaint alleges that things went wrong when Genetixs hired a man named John Van Beek to oversee the buildout and management of their facility.

Not only is Van Beek accused of charging excessive money for the buildout and giving money to his son’s construction company, but he also allegedly began to breach his duties. Genetixs accuses Van Beek of failing to provide budgets, expenditures, invoices, and other business-related paperwork. State inspections of the facility made note of numerous violations at the facility. Van Beek was terminated in March, 2021.

Genetixs alleges that Jones and White, who were teammates on the Atlanta Falcons for five years, went behind the company’s back to work with the Van Beeks. The Van Beeks allegedly cultivated and grew cannabis for sale on the illegal black market, enriching themselves and Jones and White. The Van Beeks disconnected cameras in the facility, began squatting there, and prevented a new manager from entering the facility, according to the complaint.

The suit says the Van Beeks have not reported sales to Genetixs since March. Genetixs estimate about $3 million in cannabis has been harvested and sold illegally per month since then.

The Van Beeks, in connection with White and Jones, allegedly abandoned the Genetixs Cannabis Facility and surrendered the premises to the landlord. Before doing so, they allegedly “looted, removed, and misappropriated” Genetixs’ cannabis derived from more than 22 harvests. They allegedly removed and misappropriated machinery, equipment, and fixtures located within the facility that are worth millions.

Jones, White, SLW, the Van Beeks, and other defendants are being sued on grounds of conspiracy to defraud, aiding and abetting, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract.

Genetixs is seeking general, punitive and exemplary damages, and injunctive relief.

Rafe Emanuel, the lawyer representing SLW Holdings and Roddy White and Julio Jones, told Larry Brown Sports that the allegations are “meritless.”

“The vague allegations against SLW Holdings, LLC, and its members, Roddy White and Julio Jones, are meritless. In May, SLW obtained a temporary restraining order in a related civil case to prevent unlawful conduct involving Genetixs, LLC. In reply, the defendants argued conspiracy theories that were not proven by evidence in Court, nor were they substantiated before any agency. We look forward to again defending these conspiracy theories against my clients in Court,” Emanuel said in a statement.

White, 39, played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2005-2015, making four Pro Bowls as a wide receiver. His career earnings were approximately $65 million. Jones was a wide receiver for the Falcons from 2011-2020. He was traded to the Tennessee Titans this offseason. His career earnings thus far total $125 million. Larry Brown Sports has reached out to the representatives for Jones and White seeking a comment and response.

Additionally, White tells Larry Brown Sports that the allegations are “completely false.” He says he did a background check and learned that two of the people involved with Genetixs are felons who put the company’s cannabis license in jeopardy. He says they are trying to have the men removed from the company, and that their attempt to remove the men spurred the legal complaint in response. White states that he and Jones financed Genetixs from start to finish, and therefore they would have no reason to steal from themselves.

Lamar Odom sued over missed car payments, blames his ex

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom was taken to court by his ex-girlfriend over missed payments, and now he is being taken to court by a car company over missed payments.

TMZ Sports reported on Thursday that Odom was sued by US Bank Leasing over missed car payments on a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban. Odom hasn’t made payments on the car loan since Feb. 2020, the lender claims. He owes $668.40 per month, according to the report.

A total of $35,116.76 is owed on the car. The lender is threatening repossession if they do not receive payment.

Odom’s rep told TMZ that the car was purchased for the former basketball player’s ex. It’s unclear whether that means Odom’s ex-wife Khloe Kardashian, or his ex-girlfriend who has sued him over other financial matters.

Odom recently defended himself against deadbeat dad claims. The 41-year-old says he does not begin receiving his NBA pension until he is 46.

Richard Sherman will not face burglary charge over alleged incident with in-laws

Richard Sherman

Free agent cornerback Richard Sherman will avoid the most serious charges after an alleged incident at the home of his in-laws early Wednesday.

According to CBS Sports legal analyst Amy Dash, Sherman was released without bail on Thursday, with a judge citing his track record of community work. He will not be charged with burglary stemming from the Wednesday incident. He is expected to face four separate misdemeanor charges, including criminal trespassing, malicious intent, and resisting arrest, as well as a DUI. He was also issued a no contact order against his father-in-law.

Dash added that Sherman is unlikely to face jail time as a result of the misdemeanor charges, particularly since he has no previous criminal history.

Police alleged Wednesday that Sherman attempted to unlawfully gain entry to his in-laws’ home and resisted arrest, which resulted in the deployment of a police dog. A 911 call suggests that the free agent cornerback was exhibiting some concerning behavior prior to his involvement with the police.

Urban Meyer subpoenaed over hiring of Chris Doyle

Urban Meyer

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer continues to feel some lingering repercussions over his decision to hire former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle.

The Jaguars confirmed Wednesday that both Meyer and GM Trent Baalke were subpoenaed as part of a lawsuit filed by black fomer Iowa players suing Doyle for discrimination. The team added that both Meyer and Baalke submitted written depositions in relation to the team’s decision to hire and then fire Doyle in January.

“We respect and will cooperate with the legal process as required,” the team said, via the Associated Press. “However, the Jaguars have no information that would be relevant to the lawsuit between student-athletes and the University of Iowa.”

Meyer hired Doyle in January and initially stood by the hire after significant criticism. Doyle left Iowa in 2020 amid allegations that he had been racist toward black players, which Doyle has denied. Doyle ultimately resigned from the Jaguars in light of the criticism of his hiring.

Frank Clark officially charged on felony weapons possession

Frank Clark

Frank Clark was officially charged in Los Angeles County Friday with felony weapons possession for one of his two arrests since March.

Clark was arrested twice in Los Angeles on felony weapons possession allegations this year. One arrest came in March when the Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman was pulled over while driving with another man. The two were pulled over because their car did not have a license plate.

Police observed a gun in Clark’s vehicle and arrested him for possession of two loaded firearms. Clark was charged by the county’s district attorney Friday for this incident.

Clark was also jailed in June for a similar but different arrest.

On June 20, Clark was pulled over while driving in Los Angeles on a routine traffic stop. Police noticed an Uzi in an open duffle bag in his car and arrested him for felony illegal possession of a firearm. There has not been an update on that case.

Clark is set to be arraigned for his March incident on July 14.