Kings introduce Luke Walton as new head coach
Sports reporter Kelli Tennant, who has accused recently hired Kings coach Luke Walton of sexual assault during his tenure with the Golden State Warriors, is being represented by an attorney who has represented clients in two significant police use-of-force cases.
In legal documents, it is alleged that Walton pinned Tennant to a bed, forcibly kissed her, felt her breasts and groin and rubbed his erection on her leg, as first reported Monday evening by TMZ. This allegedly occurred in a Santa Monica hotel room, reportedly while Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors but with no exact date specified.
Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, issued a statement to The Bee late Monday night in which he vehemently denied the accusations and called the claim “not credible.”
Baute in 2016 defended Derrick Rose in a civil lawsuit that accused the NBA star of rape. Rose was cleared in that case.
Tennant, who played college volleyball at USC and went on to work as a sports broadcaster, is also being represented by a high-profile attorney in Garo Mardirossian. Mardirossian has represented plaintiffs in multiple high-profile legal cases, one of them involving a pro wrestler.
What is Mardirossian known for?
Mardirossian was the lead attorney representing three dozen plaintiffs after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were accused of brutally beating attendees of a bridal shower for the sister of Emily Dole, a professional wrestler, in 1989.
The incident was caught on video by a neighbor. Jurors in a civil case ruled that 25 deputies used excessive force against members of the Dole family after responding to a reportedly out-of-hand party wearing riot gear.
The ensuing legal battle continued until nine years after the incident, when a state appellate court upheld a $23 million judgment against the sheriff’s department, according to archived stories by the Los Angeles Times. That figure remains one of the largest judgments ever ordered of a U.S. law enforcement agency.
Mardirossian also represented the father of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia who was beaten to death by police officers in Fullerton. Of the three officers who faced criminal charges in Thomas’ death, two were acquitted of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, and the third had all charges dropped.
However, Mardirossian helped Thomas’ father, Ron Thomas, secure a $4.9 million settlement ahead of a civil trial, as reported by multiple Los Angeles news outlets. Kelly Thomas’ mother, Cathy Thomas, reached a separate $1 million settlement in which she was represented by a different lawyer.