In a statement posted to his Twitter account Tuesday, free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2018, calling the claims “false and malicious.”
“These accusations are totally false, the evidence proves that they are false, and I hope that all the facts and the truth come to light,” wrote Puig.
The alleged victim, identified as Jane Roe, claims the incident occurred in October 2018 in a bathroom at the Staples Center after a Lakers game. The plaintiff sued Puig last October, saying he followed her to the bathroom and pinned, touched and masturbated in front of her.
No police report was filed and Puig has not been charged with any crime. Puig said in his statement that the couple had consensual sex after meeting at a Lakers game that was started by the plaintiff, and that his description of the match is false.
In a statement to ESPN, attorney Taylor Rayfield, who represents the woman, refuted claims that the meeting was consensual.
“The simple fact of the matter is that our client Never engaged in consensual sexual activity with Mr. Puig, not at the Staples Center President’s Club, or anywhere else, “Rayfield said, by ESPN’s John Barr.
Rayfield also released a statement on the woman’s behalf, which read: “I am an open and proud lesbian and have been for my entire adult life. My fiancee and I were enjoying a Lakers game at Staples Center when this happened. attack. “He also described the idea of leaving his fiancée for a bathroom encounter with someone he just met as” demeaning and ridiculous. “
Puig’s lawyers say that correspondence between Puig and the woman, including text messages and Instagram messages, prove that her account is fabricated. Attorney Alan Jackson also noted that by waiting two years to file the lawsuit, it is nearly impossible to obtain evidence such as witness testimony and security footage that could be used in Puig’s defense.
Still, Jackson claims his team has still gathered enough evidence to exonerate Puig.
“The evidence we have accumulated is overwhelming and confirms that the allegations are false,” Jackson said. “And this is nothing more than an attempt to use the legal system to coerce money from a high-profile athlete.”
The woman sent messages to Puig, according to Barr, but only in response to Puig sending multiple messages to try to meet privately. Rayfield said the messages were an attempt to “tone down her behavior by providing short responses” and that the woman was “fearful of a new attack or retaliation by Puig.”
Puig, 30, last appeared in a major league game in 2019 with Cleveland. He reached a deal with the Braves before the 2020 season, but the deal was canceled after Puig tested positive for COVID-19.
Jackson attributed Puig’s long absence, at least in part, to the lawsuit, saying that Puig “deserves to get back to work.” Barr reported in March that various teams considered the allegations when assessing whether or not to sign Puig as a free agent, and a central office source said: “Nobody wants the headache.”
Puig concluded his statement by asking that his version of events be heard, expressing his desire to play baseball again.
“I can only hope that those who have misjudged this situation understand that all I ask is that I be given the opportunity to prove that these claims are false and, in the meantime, play the game that I love so much,” wrote Puig.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.