NBA coach Luke Walton denies sexual assault accusation

NBA coach Luke Walton denies sexual assault accusation
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Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton on Monday denied sexual assault allegations made against him by reporter Kelli Tennant, The Sacramento Bee reported.

In a brief response to Tennant's lawsuit filed last week, Walton's lawyers acknowledged that the two met at a hotel but that “Walton has a limited memory of the encounter,” and that “their encounter was very short, entirely pleasant and consensual, and did not involve any raised voices or grabbing/groping/restraining of her arms ... nor did it involve any awkwardness.”

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In the original lawsuit, Tennant, a former host of SportsNet LA, alleged Walton pinned her on the bed in his hotel room in Santa Monica and forcibly kissed her while holding her down.

When Tennant told Walton to stop and walked to the door, the lawsuit claims, Walton grabbed her from behind and repeatedly kissed her while holding her arms against her body.

The complaint said the alleged incident occurred when Walton was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, a position he held until April 2016, when he became head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers fired Walton following the end of the 2018-19 season. He has since been hired by the Kings.

The Kings and the NBA have launched investigations into the incident.

The team declined to comment to the Bee on Monday.

“There is an ongoing independent investigation and we do not have any further comment at this time," the Kings said.

In the new Los Angeles court filing, Walton’s attorney Mark Baute calls Tennant’s claims “factually baseless” and said the complaint was filed “because she needs money.”

The attorney wrote that the visit between the two of them at the hotel “was entirely pleasant ... she was fine with it, and went on about her business as though nothing happened, because nothing of interest did happen," according to the Bee.