The Kings and the NBA announced today in a press release that they’ve launched a joint investigation into the allegations against new Sacramento head coach Luke Walton. As we detailed earlier this week, Walton is facing a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault.
As Sam Amick of The Athletic writes, the résumés of the investigators handling the case suggest that the Kings and the NBA are taking the situation seriously and are determined to discover the truth.
The Kings have hired Sue Ann Van Dermyden, the founding partner of Sacramento law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, who has extensive experience with employment law and conducting investigations. Jennifer Doughty, another veteran investigator at Van Dermyden Maddux, will work the case for the franchise as well.
As for the NBA, it has assigned one of its top attorneys to the investigation, announcing that senior vice president and assistant general counsel Elizabeth Maringer will take the lead on the league’s side.
According to Amick, the Kings will take an “innocent-until-proven-guilty” approach with Walton, who the team signed to a four-year contract earlier this month. However, they won’t hesitate to ask tough questions as part of the investigation.
After Walton’s accuser, former television reporter Kelli Tennant, spoke about the allegations at a press conference earlier this week, Walton’s attorney Mark Baute issued a statement strongly defending his client.
“These claims are false and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court,” Baute said. “(Tuesday’s) press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.”