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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Legal Matters

Aaron Donald’s attorney shares much different side of alleged assault story

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald was accused of assaulting a man at a Pittsburgh bar over the weekend, but the attorney representing Donald says the victim in the attack should actually be thanking the Los Angeles Rams star.

A man named De Vincent Spriggs filed criminal assault charges against Donald on Monday after he claims Donald attacked him and injured him outside a nightclub early Sunday morning. Spriggs’ lawyer provided a photo that showed Spriggs’ face badly swollen, but Donald’s attorney says his client did not inflict the injuries.

Donald’s lawyer, Casey White, told 97.3 The Fan on Friday that the reigning Defensive Player of the Year actually saved Spriggs from further injury. White says the incident began after Spriggs began aggressively jabbing Donald in the back with his elbow at a party. Other people at the party took Spriggs outside, and he again encountered Donald and Donald’s brother when they were leaving. Donald says Spriggs began walking at him and yelling while holding something in his hand, which Donald initially thought was a gun. It turned out to be a bottle, which Donald says Spriggs swung at him.

A fight then broke out, and White says Donald tried to pull people away from Spriggs. The lawyer acknowledged that Spriggs’ injuries came from friends who came to Donald’s defense while Donald was restrained.

“Aaron then breaks free from the restraints … he then goes to the pile where this melee is taking place and he starts tearing people off, protecting Mr. Spriggs,” White said. “He actually saves Mr. Spriggs from further injury.”

White says there is video evidence that proves Donald did not attack Spriggs. Five witnesses also said Donald was not the aggressor. The attorney says police have the footage and contacted White on Friday morning to tell him they “agree thus far that there is no evidence from that video that shows Donald assaulting the victim.”

“There’s not much else left to do to be honest with you because he’s not assaulted by Aaron Donald, he’s actually saved by Aaron Donald,” White added. “Mr. Spriggs should write a thank you card to Aaron Donald.”

Even if Donald is not charged, the NFL will conduct its own investigation. He could face disciplinary action, depending upon what his role was in the incident.

Donald is widely considered the best defensive player in the NFL and has been named Defensive Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons. The 29-year-old was extremely emotional after the Rams lost to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, as you can see here.

Photo: The 61st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr via CC-by-S.A. 2.0

Daniel Snyder goes to court against Bruce Allen over negative stories

Daniel Snyder

Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder’s quest to uncover the source of negative reporting against him has taken him to one of the people he once worked most closely with.

As first reported by Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Snyder has filed suit in federal court asking that his attorneys be allowed to search the communications of former Washington president Bruce Allen. Snyder alleged that Allen is one of those being used as a source for negative stories about Snyder, citing the fact that Allen’s name does not come up in the stories despite working closely with Snyder for over a decade.

Snyder also alleged that Allen spoke frequently with the attorney for Washington’s former minority owners while they were suing Snyder over his attempt to block their sale of their shares of the team. Snyder believes that Allen shared extensive conversations with the attorney prior to the stories being published.

Allen was fired in 2019 after long being one of Snyder’s closest confidants. That doesn’t matter here, though, as Snyder is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to discover who he thinks is leaking negative information about him. He’s even gone after the wife of a former employee for the same reason.

Aaron Donald facing assault charge after allegedly attacking man

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald has been accused of attacking a man and badly injuring him, and the Los Angeles Rams star is facing criminal charges for the alleged incident.

A man named De Vincent Spriggs says he was struck in the face by Donald in the early hours of April 11, according to KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. Attorney Todd Hollis, who represents Spriggs, said he planned to file criminal charges against the reigning Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday morning.

Hollis provided a photo that showed Spriggs’ face with his eye swollen completely shut. He says the photo was taken after Spriggs was attacked by Donald.

Hollis told Mick Stinelli of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the incident took place following an altercation at an after-hours nightclub in Pittsburgh. The attorney said Spriggs suffered a concussion and other injuries.

Donald has ties to the Pittsburgh area, as he grew up there and played college football at the University of Pittsburgh.

Donald is widely considered the best defensive player in the NFL and has been named Defensive Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons. He was extremely emotional after the Rams lost to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, as you can see here.

Both police and the NFL will likely investigate the assault allegations. Donald could face disciplinary action from the NFL regardless of what happens with the charges that are filed.

Photo: The 61st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr via CC-by-S.A. 2.0

Joe West wins defamation suit against Paul Lo Duca for easiest reason

MLB umpire Joe West has won a defamation lawsuit against former catcher Paul Lo Duca, and it sounds like West’s legal team had a fairly easy time convincing the judge to rule in their favor.

New York Supreme Court Justice John J. Kelley issued his decision Monday to award West $500,000 in damages plus interest dating back to July 8. In the suit, which was filed in October 2019, West said Lo Duca claimed during an April 18, 2019, podcast on The Action Network that the catcher was ejected 15 times during his major league career and eight or nine were by West. It took very little effort for West to prove those claims were inaccurate.

West’s suit stated that Lo Duca was ejected eight times during his career and only once by West. Lo Duca also claimed that he was catching a game for former New York Mets pitcher Billy Wagner against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006 or 2007 and that West called three straight batters out on strikes. Lo Duca said Wagner told him the reason West gave the pitcher the calls was that Wagner had allowed West to take his 1957 Chevy for a spin.

That story was apparently made up as well. West proved in his suit that he only worked one Mets-Phillies game as the home plate umpire between 2006 and 2007, and Wagner did not pitch in it.

Here is some of the explanation for Kelley’s ruling.

“The court credits the plaintiff’s testimony that one’s integrity and character are primary measures that are applied to the assessment of an umpire’s or player’s quality and, thus, the consideration that he will be given for election to, and induction into, the Hall of Fame,” Kelley wrote, according to The Associated Press. “The plaintiff expressed a legitimate concern that, if Hall of Fame voters credited Lo Duca’s false assertion regarding his integrity and character, he might not be elected for induction into the Hall of Fame for the same reasons as otherwise excellent players ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, and Barry Bonds had or have not been elected.”

West was awarded $250,000 for “past mental anguish and emotional distress” and another $250,000 to use toward retaining a public relations firm to repair his reputation.

It would not be a surprise if Lo Duca had numerous disagreements with West, as the 66-year-old umpire has been accused of treating players poorly in the past. However, Lo Duca clearly made up stories about West to prove a point. Whether he misremembered or lied is irrelevant in the eyes of the court, as evidenced by the ruling.

Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr via cc-by-SA 2.0

Deshaun Watson gets one accuser to drop lawsuit

Deshaun Watson

One of the women who was accusing Deshaun Watson of sexual assault has dropped her lawsuit.

Watson’s attorney Rustin Hardin provided an update on the case to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. He says they have the names of 20 of the 22 women. One woman has dropped her suit, and they are seeking the name of one other accuser.

Watson’s legal team got a legal victory when it was ruled that the women had to be identified. That apparently has led him to begin discussions with the accusers.

Legal cases can often be settled outside of court, typically through an amount of money and other terms agreed upon between the parties. It’s unclear what led the one woman to drop her suit.

The Houston Texans have begun to distance themselves from Watson, who has been their quarterback since 2017. Watson demanded a trade from the team prior to becoming the subject of numerous lawsuits. He could be facing a suspension from the NFL regardless of the outcome of the cases.

Britt Reid charged with felony DWI for crash that left young girl hospitalized

Britt Reid

Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid has been charged with a felony in connection with the accident that left a 5-year-old girl hospitalized back in February.

The Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced Monday that Reid has been charged with felony driving while intoxicated. The Class D felony carries a potential jail sentence of one to seven years. Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 bond.

Police records show that Reid, the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, was driving around 84 mph just before he hit a disabled vehicle on a freeway entrance ramp on Feb. 4. A blood test revealed that his blood-alcohol content was .113.

Reid, 35, has a previous drunk driving conviction in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors said he also has an alcohol-related incident in Arizona on his record.

Reid is no longer employed by the Chiefs. He did not travel to the Super Bowl with Kansas City after the crash, and Andy Reid shared some thoughts on the incident before the Chiefs’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The young girl who suffered a brain injury in the crash remained hospitalized as of March 17. The attorney representing her family said she likely has permanent brain damage. The lawyer also released photos last month that showed the severity of the crash.

Deshaun Watson admits to having consensual sexual encounters with some accusers

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has maintained his innocence despite 22 different women accusing him of sexual assault, but the Houston Texans star has now admitted that his relationship with some of the massage therapists was not exactly professional.

Watson’s legal team held a press conference on Friday afternoon in which they enthusiastically defended the quarterback’s character. Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lead defense attorney, said there were times when Watson had “consensual encounters” with some of the alleged victims.

“We deeply, deeply do not believe this guy ever did anything nonconsensual with any woman during any of this,” Hardin said. “He didn’t coerce them. We don’t believe he used his position. We don’t believe he intimidated them. We simply do not. Were there sometimes consensual encounters? Yes.”

Some have questioned why Watson needed so many different massage therapists, and Hardin also addressed that. He attributed it to spas being shut down during the pandemic and Watson searching for therapists via direct messages because “millennials live on Instagram.”

The identities of at least a dozen women who have accused Watson of sexual assault will soon be revealed. Nine of the alleged victims have volunteered to publicly reveal their identities, and several others will have to due to a court ruling on Friday.

One of the alleged victims, Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see that video here.

Watson’s defense is that he had consensual sexual encounters with some massage therapists and that all of the 22 women are lying in some form. Hardin previously claimed that Watson was the victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the case.

Several more of Deshaun Watson’s alleged victims will reveal their identities

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s attorney has filed a motion seeking to force several of the women who have accused the quarterback of sexual assault to reveal their identities, but no court ruling will be necessary for several of them.

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer who represents the 22 women who have filed sexual assault lawsuits against Watson, said Friday that nine more of the alleged victims have chosen to voluntarily reveal their identities.

One of the nine women is Ashley Solis, who delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

A hearing was held on Friday regarding 12 of the women who have filed lawsuits against Watson. A judge ruled that all 12 must refile their lawsuits and attach their names to them, according to Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. That means the three women who did not volunteer to publicly reveal their identities must now do so as well.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, maintained that the quarterback is innocent in a statement issued on Thursday. He accused Tony Buzbee of using “anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson.” Hardin has been saying for weeks that Buzbee should have to provide the names of the accusers so Watson can defend himself properly.

All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said last week that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Deshaun Watson’s legal team wins important ruling in sexual assault scandal

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s attorney filed a motion earlier this week seeking to force the quarterback’s alleged sexual assault victims to reveal their identities. A judge ruled in Watson’s favor in one of the cases on Friday morning.

Harris County Judge Dedra Davis ruled at an emergency hearing that one of the 22 plaintiffs who is suing Watson for sexual assault must identify herself by refiling her lawsuit with her name attached, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. The alleged victim had previously been referred to as Jane Doe in her lawsuit.

A similar hearing regarding at least 12 of the other plaintiffs will be held later on Friday.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, maintained that the quarterback is innocent in a statement issued on Thursday. Hardin also accused Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the alleged victims, of using “anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson.” Hardin has been saying for weeks that Buzbee should have to provide the names of the accusers so Watson can defend himself properly.

Watson has been sued by 22 women who say he sexually harassed and assaulted them while they were giving him massages. Two of the alleged victims publicly revealed their identities on Tuesday. One of the women, massage therapist Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

Ravens CB Davontae Harris thinks all 22 Deshaun Watson accusers are lying

Deshaun Watson

Davontae Harris on Wednesday expressed his doubts about the allegations Deshaun Watson is facing.

The Baltimore Ravens cornerback tweeted that the allegations Watson is facing are getting “questionable.” He also shared his belief that the women aren’t telling the truth. Harris said these 22 women are making it harder for — in his words — actual victims — to come forward.

22 women have filed lawsuits against Watson, alleging he sexually assaulted them. The cases follow a similar pattern of Watson reaching out to women to arrange massages and then allegedly acting inappropriately while with them.

Watson’s defense team shared statements from 18 women who backed the Houston Texans quarterback. The numbers indicate that Watson sought and/or received massages from at least 40 women over the last year or so.

Houston police are investigating at least one criminal complaint against Watson. All the other lawsuits are civil cases, where the burden of proof is lower. A woman came out publicly this week and attached her name to her accusation against Watson.