Dwight Howard teased a “big announcement” on social media Wednesday after news broke that the former NBA player had been accused of sexually assaulting a man at his Georgia residence during a July 2021 encounter.
Howard, who last played for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021-2022 season, posted a video to Instagram showing off his basketball skills with the caption “Big announcement coming soon” written across the video.
He also posted a message that read: “Some gone love you, some gone hate you… Do You!”
FORMER NBA STAR DWIGHT HOWARD DENIES SEXUALLY ASSAULTING MAN AT GEORGIA HOME
The post follows allegations of sexual assault and battery leveled against the one-time NBA champion by a man who claimed that he had first met Howard online in 2020.
The alleged victim, Stephen Harper, also accused Howard of false imprisonment and “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” according to court documents obtained by Radar Online and ESPN.
But an attorney representing Howard told ESPN that the alleged incident was “consensual” and only made public after a demand for payment.
“What was a private consensual encounter was made public for profit and Mr. Howard looks forward to bringing the truth to light in a court of law,” Justin Bailey told the outlet. “The allegations against Mr. Howard are contested. Mr. Howard intends to present the truth.”
“The truth is Mr. Howard blocked Mr. Harper on social media and then was confronted with two options — pay to protect his reputation or have a fabricated story made public. Despite being an easy target due to the subject matter and his status as a celebrity, Mr. Howard chose to trust in the justice system and will rely on all future court filings to speak for themselves.”
But Harper’s attorney Olga Izmaylova disputed this in a statement to Fox News Digital, adding that they “anticipated” Howard’s response and that Harper had not offered consent.
“It has come to my attention that Mr. Howard is now attempting to label my client’s filing of this lawsuit as an act of extortion, which is absolutely false. Mr. Harper is exercising his legal rights, in accordance with Georgia law, and seeking redress for the unlawful acts he endured.”
Izmaylova also noted that a motion to dismiss the case has not yet been filed.
“I can also tell you that Mr. Howard has not yet filed a Motion to Dismiss, which is the appropriate motion that must be filed in order for the court to consider the issue of dismissal. Given that no Motion to Dismiss has been filed, the issue of dismissal is not before the court at this time.”
Howard spent 18 years in the NBA, winning an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020. He last played for the Taoyuan Leopards of the T1 League, a professional basketball league in Taiwan, last season.
Read the full article here