Folks who wanted to presume guilt based on a 74-page document filed 13 years ago in court and published in full on Saturday by the New York Daily News don’t want to hear that the paperwork isn’t a court order or a decision or anything other than a lawyer presenting the facts in a one-sided way aimed at helping the lawyer’s client win the case. (The person who doesn’t want to hear that the most seems to be Shaun King of the Daily News, who either accidentally or intentionally had concluded that he had been given 74 pages not of advocacy but of accuracy.)
Now, Sports Illustrated has separately tracked down multiple other documents from the defamation lawsuit filed against Peyton Manning by Jamie Naughright, along with documents from a separate lawsuit filed later regarding whether the parties complied with a provision in the settlement agreement requiring secrecy and confidentiality.
As explained by Michael McCann of SI.com, the defamation lawsuit filed in 2002 by Naughright does not expressly refer to the allegation that Manning placed his “gluteus maximus, the rectum, the testicles, and the area in between the testicles” of Naughright’s face, instead referring generally to the incident as “not merely mooning” and alleging that he had engaged in an additional act “of such an egregious nature as to be beyond the pale.” McCann seems to suggest that the contents of the complaint and the specifics of the allegation provided through testimony are inconsistent. The better explanation is that they’re not inconsistent, especially since most states don’t require details to be provided in the first document outlining a plaintiff’s claims against a defendant.
Here, if what Naughright later described under oath is accurate, it’s fair to say that the conduct was “of such an egregious nature as to be beyond the pale.”
That said, an affidavit signed by Naughright in 1996, the year of the alleged incident, does seem to be inconsistent with the claims made while testifying several years later: “He pulled his pants down and exposed himself to me, as I was bent over examining his foot after asking me personal questions. I reported this to my supervisor, who referred to it as ‘merely a prank,’ and no action was taken in regard to this until after I formally complained.”
There’s no allegation in the 1996 affidavit of contact with Naughright’s face or any other part of her body. While that doesn’t excuse Manning if he “exposed himself” to Naughright, it creates the kind of inconsistency that Manning’s lawyers would have highlighted aggressively in response to the document released Saturday by the Daily News.
The documents obtained by Sports Illustrated don’t change the fact that the next question in this ordeal is whether details regarding a 1994 incident involving Manning and Naughright will be released, and whether Naughright will speak on the record. Shaun King of the Daily News seems to believe both will occur.
Meanwhile, it’s almost time for PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. We’ll be spending more than a few minutes explaining this one over the next three hours.