The woman accusing former Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis of raping her in New York in February 2018 contacted the team’s legal department in October asking to “mediate in private” a $68,000 payment, ESPN reported Monday.
Citing emails between the woman and the team, ESPN reports the 29-year-old woman communicated with the Knicks from late October through early November seeking hush money she said Porzingis had promised her, with the team eventually referring her to Porzingis’ personal lawyer.
No criminal complaint against Porzingis was filed until last week, more than 13 months after the alleged incident, which came a few hours after Porzingis tore his ACL during a game at Madison Square Garden. New York Police Department sources told the New York Post that the accuser is “believable.”
ESPN’s report Monday said emails the woman sent to the team detailed her account of the alleged Feb. 7, 2018 incident: She said she went to Porzingis’ apartment — in the same building where she lived — for an autograph, was subjected to an “extremely aggressive encounter,” and the two agreed to co-sign a statement that promised a $68,000 payment from Porzingis.
Porzingis’ lawyer, Roland G Riopelle, told ESPN he believes the document is a forgery and denies that his client signed it. ESPN obtained a copy of the alleged agreement, a handwritten document that misspells Porzingis’ first name, reading:
“This agreement effective February 7, 2018, acknowledges the fact that an unexpected escalated sexual intercourse due to an inevitable physical attraction on the part of Kristap (sic) occurred subsequently, warrants compensation payable towards (the woman’s) siblings college tuition in the amount of $68,000. …
“Mr. Kristap (sic) willingly offered several compensations to (the woman) including business investments. (The woman) ultimately settled with Mr. Kristap’s (sic) offer of a $68,000 check.”
ESPN also reported Monday that text messages between the woman and Porzingis showed she continued to pursue a romantic relationship with the 23-year-old Latvian in the weeks after the incident, asking to spend intimate time together and sending explicit photos of herself. Those texts came before the woman reached out to the team.
Among other details in emails sent to the team, per ESPN, the woman included photos of text messages with Porzingis, including his invitation to his apartment the night of the alleged incident, when he said he was “drunk.” She also included a photo that she said showed hair loss and broken nose cartilage “from when (Porzingis) repeatedly hit me,” adding she had to pay “about $10,000” for corrective surgery.
Riopelle issued a statement Saturday that “unequivocally” denied the woman’s allegations, adding he and Porzingis had referred the matter to federal law enforcement in December “based on the accuser’s extortionate demands.” The statement added that the NBA was made aware of the situation “months ago.”
Porzingis was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 31. Owner Mark Cuban said Saturday he was aware of the accusation. ESPN reported the Mavericks were informed about it on a conference call to finalize the trade.
The Mavericks have since declined further comment, and coach Rick Carlisle said the accusation won’t affect whether Porzingis practices with the team later this season.
NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement on Sunday, “We been aware of these allegations for some time, have evaluated the accuser’s claims and, based on what is presently before us, stand with Kristaps.”
Porzingis has not played in a game since tearing his ACL in what proved to be his final game with the Knicks. He averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in 186 games over three seasons with New York.