"These claims are false and Luke's innocence will be proven in court."
Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton has been accused of sexual assault by former Spectrum SportsNet LA host, Kelli Tennant - but Walton's attorney, Mark Baute, says the claims are patently false.
Baute vehemently denied the allegations earlier this week, labelling Tennant as "an opportunist, not a victim." Baute issued another statement today in which he said, "We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime."
Baute's full statement, according to the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli:
"These claims are false and Luke's innocence will be proven in court. Yesterday's press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime."
According to a civil suit filed against Walton, Tennant alleges that he "pinned her to the bed" and "began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest" in his hotel room back in 2016.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Tennant said (H/T ESPN):
"I thought he was going to rape me. I was finally able to get up after what felt like forever. And I immediately jumped up to leave the room, and he came around and grabbed me from behind and again held my arms down so I could not move. And started kissing my neck again. I kept begging him to please let go and to please stop. And he continued to laugh in my ear. He finally let me go, and I got out of the room."
The Sacramento Kings, who recently reached a deal with Walton to be their next head coach, were unaware of the sexual assault allegations before signing him. According to The Athletic, both sides are "moving forward with their working relationship."