A California judge has signed an arrest warrant for Nebraska bringing Maurice Washington back, his lawyer said Thursday, while university officials said the athletic department did not know the charges against the player during the football season.
Washington was indicted in California in December with the possession and distribution of a video of a former girl sexually abused by two others in 2016, when she was 15 years old.
He will surrender to the authorities and appear in court in California to avoid arrest, said his lawyer, John C. Ball.
Washington is suspected of filing the video on his cell phone and sending it to the victim last March. He is accused of having a video or photograph of a person under the age of 18 who is practicing or simulating a sexual conduct and a count of having posted a video or photograph of a person who undertakes to simulate sexual behavior without the consent, leading to the person suffering from emotional distress. Washington was a star of the King & # 39; s Academy in Sunnyvale, California, where she met the girl. He later attended high school in Texas.
Ball stressed that Washington was not involved in the alleged assault.
"Mr. Washington had absolutely nothing to do with the alleged sexual attack," Ball said in a statement. "The young woman in this case did not even claim that the recorded incident was sexual and non-consensual violence until recently, after allegedly receiving the video from Mr. Washington, years after the alleged assault. engaged in the eighth year, and their communications years later Without all the facts, any judgment on something in this case is premature and would be based only on conjecture and conjecture.It is assumed that Mr. Washington is innocent. in a court, based on trial rules and due process ".
Also on Thursday, officials from the Nebraska athletic department reported that they connected Washington to a lawyer who was a friend of head coach Scott Frost, but that the school did nothing wrong and the coaches of last fall were unaware of accusations of child pornography that the player was facing.
The investigators in California and Nebraska had been in contact since September with Washington attorney at the time, Jon Bruning, who is a former Attorney General of Nebraska now in private practice, though not typically with criminal defense . Bruning last week reported Washington to Ball, a criminal defense lawyer, after he learned that the charges were pending.
According to a statement by Nebraska, the coaches and officials of the athletic department knew that the California investigators wanted to talk to Washington, but Bruning had told Frost last fall that he could not reveal the nature of the investigation because of the lawyer privilege -customer. Bruning told Frost that he doubted that the probe would result in criminal charges.
Nebraska also denied having made a mistake in reporting Washington to Bruning. Documents released Wednesday by the state of the Santa Clara County Supreme Court, according to which Bruning said he had been "contacted by members of the athletic department", but the school said it was only for a postponement.
"Nebraska Football staff was clear both in Bruning and Washington that Washington had to be treated like a regular customer and billed appropriately," read a university statement, adding that Bruning had a "long friendship" with Frost and partner director and colleague former teammate Matt Davison.
The NCAA generally allows athletic department officials to report athletes to lawyers, but the athlete must be the one who initiates contact with the lawyer. In a case like this, it would violate the NCAA rules if the school paid the legal fees of the athlete; and the rules generally prohibit lawyers from offering special discounts or pro bono work to athletes if such a similar offer is not available to non-athletes.
"I was introduced to Maurice Washington by the football staff last fall," Bruning told ESPN on Thursday. "I was told that the Attorney General's office in Nebraska had phoned in various places of the University for Mr. Washington and I wanted to question him. I had told Maurice that he probably needed a lawyer to help him. said to keep a lawyer who had to sign an engagement letter and pay for that service to avoid problems with the NCAA The football staff reiterated that we had to do everything with the book and make sure it had not received an extra benefit. deeply aware that we had to ensure that every rule was followed to protect the University, the coaches and the suitability of Mr. Washington. "
Bruning was involved in the case after Ed Sexton, who works in the Nebraska attorney general's office, spoke to an athletic compliance officer, Jamie Vaughn. Sexton wrote that Vaughn told him that the football staff "wanted to know what was going on and wanted to talk to Washington." Football coaches were also worried that Washington needed a lawyer.
Bruning said Wednesday that he never told anyone at the university about the nature of potential charges.
The California survey extended from last March to the summer. The California authorities then asked Sexton to track down Washington for an interview.
According to court records obtained by The Associated Press, Sexton said he had contacted Nebraska and was first recalled by Vaughn, and then September 14 by Bruning.
"The nature of the case was disclosed and I understood that Bruning would talk to Washington and his coaches, then let me know if, or when, I would be able to interview Washington," wrote Sexton. "I do not expect to be able to interview Washington."
Five days later, court documents say, Sexton called Bruning, who told Sexton that Washington had told him he had no idea of the video charges.
By the second week of September, Washington had begun its freshman season and was becoming the third rusher of the team.
Court documents described unnecessary attempts by a California and Sexton detective to arrange an interview with Washington through Vaughn and Bruning. They made repeated phone calls and sent messages to Washington that remained unanswered.
The court documents suggest that the case is languishing throughout the season, and there is no indication that Washington has ever been interviewed. On December 14, Bruning received copies of search warrants from the sheriff's office in Santa Clara County, California.
"Not having heard [Santa Clara County Sheriff’s investigator Colin Haselbach] for three months, I called him that day, and his behavior on that call can be described as unfriendly and unprofessional, "Bruning told ESPN, who reproached me for the case, threatened to arrest my client and insisted that he might be able to talk to my client, despite the fifth amendment of the Constitution keeping silence, I said I would consider his request. "
Bruning said he had not heard anything from the investigators until a reporter told him last week that Washington had been accused, at which point he gave the case to Ball. Bruning also claimed that he never heard the video described as involving rape or assault until the news opened on Monday.
Washington was considered a prominent player in Nebraska's 2018 recruitment class and gained instant playtime. He appeared in 11 games and started against Ohio State and Iowa. He finished with 455 meters of run and 221 meters away. He was also the best man returning from Nebraska football.
The information of Paula Lavigne and The Associated Press of ESPN have been used in this report.