Police arranging to interview Roethlisberger
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MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- Investigators today said they are making arrangements to talk to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about sexual assault allegations lodged against him by a young woman.
Milledgeville Police Chief Woodrow Blue said at a late afternoon press conference that a lawyer hired by Mr. Roethlisberger has been in contact with police and is cooperating. He said the quarterback and other witnesses to the alleged incident would be interviewed in the next two to three days. Investigators would not say where the interviews, eight in all including members of his entourage, would be conducted.
After the press conference, one of Mr. Roethlisberger's attorneys, Ed Garland, said, "The facts show that there was no criminal activity. No sexual assault occurred. The truth of the events should cause this investigation to end without a criminal charge."
He would not go into detail on his allegations that no sexual assault occurred.
And police today would not provide details of what the 20-year-old woman told them happened.
Special Agent Tom Davis of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said authorities would be reviewing videos from Milledgeville nightclubs Mr. Roethlisberger visited late Thursday and early Friday. The woman who brought the complaint, a student at Georgia College & State University, said Mr. Roethlisberger assaulted her early Friday at one of the clubs.
Agent Davis said the woman has an attorney but he would not provide the name.
He also declined to provide more specifics of the incident or, in response to a reporter's question, to characterize whether the woman was credible.
Mr. Roethlisberger has Mr. Garland, an Atlanta criminal defense attorney, and another attorney, Donald F. Samuel, to represent him. Mr. Garland represented Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who was accused in 2000 of a double murder in Atlanta. Mr. Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice and testified against two co-defendants who were later acquitted.
The local district attorney issued a statement in advance of the 4 p.m. police press conference here.
"The investigation is ongoing," said the statement from Frederic D. Bright, district attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. "It would be premature to make any announcement at this time. When the facts are in, and a decision is made, we will let you know."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league has no comment on the case but is following developments.
Steelers President Art Rooney II issued the following statement:
"All of us in the Steelers family are concerned about the recent incident involving Ben Roethlisberger in Georgia. We cannot comment on any of the specifics until law enforcement's investigation is concluded. Certainly, we will continue to closely monitor the situation."
First Published March 8, 2010 11:49 am