Dwight Howard lawsuit: Georgia judge declines to dismiss suit alleging sexual assault


This week, a judge in Georgia declined to dismiss the lawsuit against former NBA All-Star Dwight Howard, alleging sexual assault and battery, per ESPN. The lawsuit, filed by Stephen Harper in July 2023, alleges that Howard sexually assaulted him at Harper’s home in July 2021. Howard and his attorneys have argued that the encounter was consensual.

The Gwinnett County judge also made a ruling to seal an exhibit that, according to Howard’s lawyers, included sexually explicit messages.

“My comment, at this time, is that we are glad the court denied Mr. Howard’s motion and look forward to proving our client’s case,” Olga Izmaylova, Harper’s attorney, told ESPN.

“Justice will prevail and we fully trust in our justice system and the process,” Justin Bailey, one of Howard’s attorneys, told ESPN. “This order is a part of the process. We will engage in discovery and will further prove our case, and when the time is right, we will let our future pleadings speak for themselves.”

In December, Howard filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that it was “frivolous” and “nothing more than a classic case of unrequited love.” That filing centered on text messages between the two men. It alleges that some messages were deleted and others in the initial complaint were doctored. Howard’s camp submitted screenshots of text messages that were not previously entered into the record. 

“In short, the totality of the text messages between Mr. Howard and Mr. Harper make it abundantly clear that Mr. Harper’s claims are frivolous, that he was a willing participant in the events of July 19, 2021, and the early morning hours of July 20, 2021, and that the touching of his person had been invited by him,” Howard’s lawyers wrote. 

“More importantly, the explicit messages not only show consent but also that Mr. Harper was initiating some of the sexual contact. Mr. Harper not only invited the initial experience, but tried to initiate a second encounter because the first was so enjoyable. As it is undisputed that Mr. Harper consented to the touching between him…

Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/dwight-howard-lawsuit-georgia-judge-declines-to-dismiss-suit-alleging-sexual-assault/

Author : Jack Maloney

Publish date : 2024-02-22 22:14:47

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