Holmes accuser will prosecute
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The woman suing Santonio Holmes who refused to prosecute him criminally for what she said was an assault at a Florida nightclub has changed her mind.
Anshonae Mills informed police Wednesday that she now wants the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver charged with throwing a liquor glass at her face March 7 and causing a minor injury during a dispute over a seat at the club's VIP lounge.
"Ms. Mills came to the Orlando Police Department yesterday and wants to prosecute, and the case has been re-activated," Orlando police Sgt. Barbara Jones said Thursday in an e-mail.
No further information was available about how investigators plan to proceed.
Police announced Tuesday that the criminal investigation had been closed because Ms. Mills would not cooperate.
Ms. Mills, 21, a senior at the University of Central Florida, filled out a handwritten statement to police on the morning of the incident refusing to prosecute the football player.
Officer Damon Barnes, who wrote the report, noted that Ms. Mills told him the situation was resolved and she did not want to press charges or get Mr. Holmes into trouble after the two had a private conversation.
During that chat, the officer wrote that he observed Ms. Mills smiling and rubbing Mr. Holmes' face.
Nonetheless, Ms. Mills sued Mr. Holmes last week for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She is seeking damages upward of $15,000.
Mr. Holmes' attorney denied that his client assaulted Ms. Mills and said he has a private investigator gathering information to defend his client.
"We adamantly deny her allegations in that complaint," Adam B. Swickle said Thursday. "We do plan on contesting everything."
Mr. Swickle had no comment on the reopening of the criminal investigation.
"I haven't heard anything yet," he said.
Ms. Mills' lawyers could not be reached for comment.
A police report indicates that Mr. Holmes, 26, "immediately denied ever touching" Ms. Mills and told officers that a female patron had thrown the glass at her.
One of the allegations in the lawsuit is that Mr. Holmes and police pressured Ms. Mills to not press charges. Neither the suit nor Ms. Mills' lawyers have provided any evidence or detail to back up that claim.
"Based on my investigation at this point, Santonio didn't put any pressure on anybody," Mr. Swickle said.
He also discounted Ms. Mills' contention in her suit that the football player tried to buy her silence.
Asked if Mr. Holmes offered Ms. Mills money, Mr. Swickle said, "No, of course not."
Mr. Swickle, who is based in Fort Lauderdale, has a lengthy roster of professional football clients that includes former Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress and Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Ochocinco.
The police report states that Officer Barnes told Ms. Mills and Mr. Holmes that with conflicting statements from the two and no independent witnesses, he planned to charge Mr. Holmes.
Mr. Swickle would not comment on the police account of a private conversation, saying that that part of his investigation was not complete.
Ms. Mills refused medical attention for her injury. The police report describes a one-quarter-inch abrasion over her right eye; the suit calls it a laceration.
Ms. Mills also has sued J.J. Whispers Group Inc., the owners of Rain Ultra Lounge.
In a statement, the club said it is still gathering information about the matter.
Keisha Pickett, a spokeswoman for the club, said no evidence has been presented to support the allegation that anyone threw a liquor glass at Ms. Mills.
"We don't welcome any incidents of this type at Club Rain. It's not what we promote or tolerate from any of our patrons, whether they're celebrities or not," Ms. Pickett said. "We want them all to feel safe and welcome while they're there."
She said she did not know whether the club had a video camera system. Mr. Swickle confirmed that is an area he is exploring.
"We look forward to be able to exonerate him," Mr. Swickle said of his client. "He's a good kid ... We're going to investigate and we have a lot of confidence that it's going to produce positive results for him."
Ms. Mills, who has been arrested twice in the Orlando area -- she was found guilty of trespassing and resisting an officer without violence, while charges of aggravated battery, battery and trespass were dropped in another incident -- also has a criminal record in Jacksonville.
In January 2008, she was charged with trespassing at a Walmart. She pleaded no contest. She also was cited for petit theft and completed a pretrial intervention program in April 2008.
First Published April 2, 2010 12:00 am