Los Angeles – The new Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton was indicted in a lawsuit by a former sports reporter for sexual assault. Kelli Tennant filed the lawsuit on Monday in the Higher Regional Court of Los Angeles. Walton attacked her in a hotel room in Santa Monica while assisting the Golden State Warriors. TMZ first reported the lawsuit. Walton's attorney Mark Baute called the allegations "groundless." "The Prosecutor is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is untrustworthy," Baute said in a statement. "We intend to prove this in a courtroom."
According to the lawsuit, Tennant had regarded Walton as a friend and mentor, and she was friends with his wife. Walton also wrote the preface to her book. She says she gave him a copy while sleeping at the Casa Del Mar Hotel during a Warriors Road trip to Los Angeles. Tennant said Walton met her in the lobby and invited her to his room. After discussing the book, Tennant said Walton suddenly pushed her to the bed and kissed her violently. She said Walton used his entire body weight to keep her on the bed and laughed as she said "Stop!" Called:
Tennant said Walton gave in and she wanted to leave the room when he grabbed her again and kissed her ears and neck. She said he finally stopped laughing and said "good to see you" before she left the room.
Tennant said that at that time she had entrusted herself to people, but had never filed charges. She said Walton continues to harass her after he became coach of the Lakers and she worked as a Los Angeles broadcaster for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA. She is now doing a wellness podcast.
The Warriors and Lakers said they first heard of the allegations when TMZ filed the lawsuit on Monday night and had no further comment. Walton was an assistant to Golden State from 2014-16, before being hired as Lakers head coach. Walton was fired by the Lakers earlier this month after a disappointing season, but was hired by the Kings a few days later, CBS Sports reported.
Walton was officially launched as the new head coach last week. The kings said they knew the report and collected additional information but had no further comments.