The New York Post broke the news over the weekend as the Mavericks continued to play out the string on the road during a lost season and one of the biggest pieces of their on-court future, star center Kristaps Porzingis, remained in North Texas for injury treatment. A woman who shared an apartment building with Porzingis when he was a member of the New York Knicks had accused the 23-year-old of raping her on Feb. 7, 2018, the same night he tore his ACL during a game with the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the days that followed, a series of scoops from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and the New York tabloids began filling in the blanks on the year-plus that followed the alleged incident, including how much the Mavericks knew about the accusations when they acquired Porzingis from the Knicks at the 2019 trade deadline.
As characterized by Wojnarowski, a series of text messages between Porzingis and his accuser from after the alleged incident show her continuing to pursue a relationship with Porzingis, while continuing to insist that he put $68,000 in her brother's college fund.
In October 2018, according to emails obtained by Wojnarowski, Porzingis' accuser began emailing with Knicks employees in an attempt to get Porzingis to pay the money she said he promised her. She said that Porzingis attacked her after she came to his apartment to get his autograph. After the attack, she said, she and Porzingis signed a document agreeing to the payment.
Porzingis' attorney, Roland G. Riopelle, said in a statement Sunday that the document, quoted in full below, is a forgery.
"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."
"Mr. Porzingis denies signing the alleged contract, which we believe is a forgery," Riopelle told ESPN. "When asked to produce the original contract for handwriting analysis, the complainant declined to do so."
The woman also sent the Knicks a photograph she said showed hair loss and damaged nose cartilage "from when (Porzingis) repeatedly hit me." In the wake of the incident, the accuser spent $10,000 on corrective surgery, she told the team. The Knicks cut off communications with the accuser in November 2018, referring her to Porzingis' legal team.
The next month, according to a statement provided to media outlets by Riopelle, Porzingis told the FBI about the accuser's demands.
"We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations. We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on Dec. 20, 2018, based on the accuser's extortionate demands," Riopelle said. "We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement. We cannot comment further on an ongoing federal investigation. Please refer any questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Basketball Association."
As the Mavericks considered trading for Porzingis in January, the Knicks gave them some information about the accusations, but it isn't clear exactly how much. According to ESPN, the Knicks told the Mavericks about the rape allegations during a Jan. 31 trade call. According to The Dallas Morning News' Brad Townsend's sources, however, the Knicks only told the Mavericks about alleged "extortion."
Following the woman formally accusing Porzingis, Riopelle said Monday afternoon that he and his client are cooperating with the district attorney.
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"We have been contacted by the District Attorney's Office, and we are cooperating fully with their investigation," Riopelle said in a statement to Wojnarowski. "We have agreed to provide the District Attorney's Office with the materials that we previously provided to the federal authorities in support of our extortion complaint. We are confident that, after the district attorney reviews these materials, they will recognize that the complaint made in the case is completely meritless."
Ahead of the Mavericks' game with the 76ers on Monday night, coach Rick Carlisle had little to say about Porzingis to reporters.
“Basically, I don’t have any comment. Other than, he’s here tonight. It’s business as usual. He’ll be on the bench,” Carlisle said, according to WFAA.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also declined to comment, citing the FBI extortion investigation.