Publicly, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, through lawyer David Cornwell, has demanded that the woman accusing Roethlisberger of sexual assault abandon the case, based on e-mail messages that tend to undercut her claims.
Privately, Roethlisberger’s legal team is making a more pointed effort to end the case against him — and possibly to launch a case against the lawyer representing his accuser.
In a motion filed Thursday, attorney Calvin Dunlap says that the player’s legal team made a “settlement offer” this week. But it apparently wasn’t the traditional “we pay you money and you leave us alone” approach.
Per the Reno Gazette-Journal, the settlement letter includes two separate proposals.
The first proposal calls for the plaintiff to dismiss her suit and sign a release of all legal claims.
second proposal offers to release all claims against the plaintiff “if she cooperates with Roethlisberger in
his claims against Dunlap for extortion, abuse of process, malicious
prosecution and defamation.”
In other words, Roethlisberger and company are hoping to persuade the plaintiff to admit that the whole thing has been fabricated — and that Dunlap either knew or should have known that the case should not have been pursued.
Frankly, the strategy has created a potential conflict of interest for Dunlap. How can he properly advise the plaintiff on whether to accept the deal when, if she takes it, he’ll immediately become a target? At a minimum, the plaintiff should engage separate and neutral counsel to help her sort this all out, since depending on the truth it might be in her best interests to throw in the towel — and to then help Roethlisberger and his lawyers pursue potential remedies against Dunlap.
So will this thing go away quickly, or will it hang around for a while? It’s the topic of one of the PFTV segments this week. Cue the NBC video player.