Sacramento Kings

Domestic violence, embezzlement and more: Some legal troubles past Kings have faced

Luke Walton accuser Kelli Tennant speaks out at press conference

Luke Walton accuser Kelli Tennant speaks out at press conference. Tennant described the alleged sexual assault on April 23, 2019.
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Luke Walton accuser Kelli Tennant speaks out at press conference. Tennant described the alleged sexual assault on April 23, 2019.

Former sports reporter Kelli Tennant spoke publicly for the first time after filing a sexual battery lawsuit against recently hired Kings coach Luke Walton.

Speaking from Los Angeles on Tuesday, Tennant recounted the alleged incident that took place in a Santa Monica hotel room years ago, when she went to visit Walton, a friend who was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors at the time.

While Tennant said she feared she was going to be raped, Walton’s lawyer has dismissed the charges, calling his client’s accuser “an opportunist, not a victim.”

This is yet another legal matter connected to the Kings organization in a timeline that spans more than a decade.

Here are some of those cases:

Kings stunned by financial fraud case

A man the Kings referred to as a golden boy stunned them with a multimillon-dollar financial fraud case.

Former Kings marketing executive Jeffrey David was accused of embezzling $13.4 million from two of the Kings’ top sponsors and using the money to buy beachfront property in Southern California.

David was the chief revenue officer for the Kings until last summer, when he took a similar position with the Miami Heat. He was reportedly relieved of his duties a week after the Sacramento report surfaced.

David in January pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in Sacramento and was scheduled to be sentenced last week, but the Sacramento Business Journal reports the sentencing date has been moved to June.

Although he could face up to 22 years in prison, The Bee reported that prosecutors could vie for an 8 1/2-year sentence, while David’s lawyers are expected to push for a sentence of no more than two years.

Musselman arrested, charged with DUI

Hours after the Kings earned a preseason victory, their first-year coach was arrested in October 2006 on suspicion of driving under the influence.

According to an ESPN report, Eric Musselman was pulled over 1 1/2 miles from the Capitol and cited for misdemeanor DUI after three failed field sobriety tests showed the coach with a blood-alcohol content level of 0.11, which is higher than California’s legal limit of 0.08.

He was released in the morning without bail from the Sacramento County jail.

Musselman served a two-game suspension in February 2007, according to The Bee’s archives, and was fired after the Kings went 33-49 and missed the playoffs for the first time since the shortened 1999 season.

Collison pleads guilty, gets suspended

Darren Collison, who spent three seasons with the Kings, was suspended for the first eight games of 2016-17.

The veteran NBA point guard pleaded guilty to a domestic battery charge in September 2016 in relation to an incident four months prior involving his wife at their Granite Bay home, according to the Placer County District Attorney’s Office.

The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor because Collison had no previous criminal history and any injuries in the matter required little to no medical attention.

The Bee reported that Collison received three years of informal probation and a 20-day jail sentence, according to the DA’s Office. He had the option to serve the jail time through an alternative sentencing program if approved by the Placer County probation department.

Artest, domestic violence and a dog

Before he changed his name to Metta World Peace, Ron Artest spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Kings.

In March 2007, he was arrested in connection to a domestic violence case in which he was accused of shoving a woman to the floor and prevented her from contacting authorities, according to an ESPN report. He was taken to Placer County Jail and later freed on $50,000 bail.

Artest missed the Kings’ next two games, then was suspended for the first seven contests of the 2007-08 season.

In an unrelated case, ESPN reported a month later that Artest was cleared of animal cruelty charges after it was suspected he wasn’t feeding his Great Dane.

Reserve center accused in sexual assault case

Kings reserve center Justin Williams was the subject of a sexual assault case in October 2007.

A woman claimed Williams, who played 48 of his 49 NBA games with the Kings, and another woman tried to have sex with her at Williams’ Sacramento-area home.

The accuser reported feeling woozy after having a drink at the home, according to reports in The Bee. Williams’ attorney told The Bee the center and his girlfriend had sex with her, but it was consensual.

According to The Bee’s archives, a police investigation didn’t turn up sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the reports and conducted additional investigation, we concur that the evidence does not support the filing of any criminal charges in this case,” said a statement from the office of Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully in November 2007.

Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.