Newly hired Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton seems ready for a legal fight over allegations by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her. Former reporter for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA, Kelli Tennant, is suing Walton and claims in the suit the assault happened in April 2016 when Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.
"The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible...We will not pay a dime."
Luke Walton attorney Mark Baute
Attorney Mark Baute is representing Walton. Baute released a statement Monday night in which he said, "Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations. The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom."
On Wednesday Baute told the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday that Tennant’s claims are "outrageous” and claimed her attorney admitted during a Tuesday news that his case Walton lacked evidence.
"These claims are false and Luke's innocence will be proven in court," Baute told the paper. "Yesterday’s press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyer wants 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."
Regarding the lawsuit, the Kings said, "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."
The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers also released statements in response to the lawsuit.
"We became aware of the alleged incident and story this evening and are in the process of seeking more information. We’ll have no further comment at this time," said Warriors team officials.
The Lakers are claiming to have had no knowledge of the alleged attacks.
"This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA."