OAN’s Noah Herring
11:34 AM – Wednesday, June 20, 2023
Former NFL punter, Matt Araiza, who was cleared from any criminal charges when he was accused of rape last year, now plans to sue the lawyer of his accuser for defamation.
Araiza said that he would not settle with the civil lawsuit he is facing and would instead counter-sue attorney Dan Gilleon for defamation.
“I’ve already hired an attorney for it, and things have already been drafted,” Araiza said to “Real Sports” correspondent Andrea Kremer. “I will never waive my right to sue him. That’s coming…”
Araiza was accused of being apart of a gang rape of a 17-year-old girl at a party when he attended San Diego State in 2022. Prosecutors came forward with their report in May after the accusation.
The lawsuit stated that Araiza threw the minor on the bed “face first” as she went in and out of consciousness while having unsolicited sex. It also claimed that the alleged incident lasted an hour and a half before she finally left the room bloodied and crying.
After a 124 day investigation that ended on December 7th, 2022, prosecutors decided they would not press charges.
In a “200-plus page transcript of a 100 minute meeting,” a deputy district attorney explained that they found no evidence to press any charges against Araiza or anyone else accused in the civil lawsuit.
One of the most convincing pieces of evidence found, showed that Araiza “left” the house where the party took place at around 12:30 a.m. Prosecutors asserted that the alleged incident happened an hour after that time.
The former-punter was drafted in round 6 pick 180 in the 2022 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. However, he was immediately cut from the team when the allegations surfaced.
“I just didn’t see how people could do this. To make a lie, like that, about someone’s life, knowing the implications of it. I was in shock. And seeing everyone in the world believe it and knowing that they just completely got misled,” Araiza said.
“No chance to defend myself. No waiting for the police to back any of these statements. Not waiting for the trial for anything to be proven in court. There was a feeling that society was sure about this. They were 100% sure,” he added.
Gilleon vowed to move forward with the lawsuit against Araiza, but with an altered version of the story.
“We are not saying that he was, and we are not saying that he wasn’t,” Gilleon said. “Let’s say he was not one of the men in there. That doesn’t absolve him of liability.”
“Our allegation is, is he contributed heavily to the harm that she suffered that night,” Gilleon continued. “He had sex with my client. Following that, she ended up having sex with multiple guys and came out of there bloodied, in shock. Ended up at the hospital, ended up with the police, and ended up traumatized. So that’s what I mean by the gang rape. Gang rapes can occur for two days. They can occur over time. They can occur multiple places. So that’s the clarification.”
Araiza’s mother, Kerry responded to the lawsuit claiming that the attorney had taken “absolutely everything from Matt,” suggesting that Gilleon cost him “his job, his reputation, his name, [and] his livelihood.”
Araiza is reportedly planning a route back to the NFL but will likely have to wait until the civil litigation resolves in an outcome that clears his name.
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