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Antonio Brown admits sexual relationship with accuser, calls lawsuit a “money grab”

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 9/11/2019 Mike Florio
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 16:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on December 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) © Getty PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 16: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on December 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

On the same day he became a member of the Patriots, receiver Antonio Brown has been sued for sexual assault and rape.

Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, has issued a detailed statement that admits to the existence of a sexual relationship between Brown and the plaintiff, Britney Taylor, but denies any wrongdoing on Brown’s behalf. The lawyer’s statement calls the lawsuit a “money grab.”

“He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but also to protect other professional athletes against false accusations,” Heitner vows.

In the statement, Heitner characterizes Taylor as someone who was looking for funding from Brown to launch a business project. She allegedly sought $1.6 million.

“When Mr. Brown refused to make the $1.6 million ‘investment,’ the accuser supposedly cut off communication with Mr. Brown,” Heitner contends. “However, in 2018, the accuser resurfaced and offered to travel to Pennsylvania and South Florida to train Mr. Brown for the upcoming season. Thereafter, the accuser engaged Mr. Brown in a consensual personal relationship. Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”

Heitner claims that the relationship continued after the alleged rape in May 2018.

“Mr. Brown’s accuser has continually posted photographs of Mr. Brown on her social media in an effort to financially benefit from his celebrity,” Heitner writes. “Mr. Brown, whose hard work and decision to his craft has allowed him to rise to the top of his profession, refuses to be the victim of what he believes to be a money grab.”

The statement narrows the focus of much of the looming legal fight to the credibility of Brown and Taylor, since it’s clear that they knew each other and had a personal relationship. While third-party witnesses and circumstantial evidence may tip the scales one way or the other, this one will (barring a settlement) boil down to whether a jury believes him or believes her.

While that may not be enough to ever secure a conviction in criminal court, it’s more than enough to satisfy the much lower burden of proof in civil cases.

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