Big Ben's lawyer: Accuser's e-mails undermine case

| Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009

An attorney for Ben Roethlisberger released a series of e-mails Tuesday that he contends undermine the civil rape allegation brought by a Nevada casino worker against the Steelers quarterback.

"We believe that (the woman's) own words directly refute the scurrilous allegations made in her complaint," said a statement from attorney David Cornwell of Atlanta, who represents Roethlisberger. "(She) should abandon her lawsuit immediately and admit that Ben Roethlisberger did not rape her."

The woman claims Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her July 11, 2008, at the Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino, where she worked as a VIP concierge. She filed a civil lawsuit in Reno last month, two weeks before the Super Bowl champions opened training camp.

Roethlisberger, 27, has denied assaulting the 31-year-old woman, who has never gone to police.

The Tribune-Review doesn't name alleged victims of sexual assault.

Cornwell's statement doesn't say how the e-mails, which couldn't be readily verified, were obtained.

The e-mails are purportedly between the woman and a fictitious online boyfriend fabricated by the angry wife of a former paramour.

According to Cornwell, a day after the alleged assault, the casino worker sent an e-mail stating she has been "chosen to take care of all the Penthouse guests...Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger (we all think he looks like you), Donald Trump, Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson..."

Roethlisberger, Jordan and the others were at Lake Tahoe attending the 2008 American Century Championship golf tournament.

The following day, Cornwell said, she sent an e-mail stating she was looking forward to having dinner with Roethlisberger: "This golf tournament has been really fun...Speaking of which, I need to head over to dinner with your lookalike and a few others..."

According to Cornwell, the woman wrote a third e-mail several months later saying, "I would date Ben Roethlisberger" if the opportunity arose.

Her attorney, Calvin Dunlap of Reno, didn't return calls seeking comment.

Roethlisberger's attorneys have until Friday to file a response to the woman's allegations.

In a court filing made public yesterday, a former best friend and co-worker of the woman asked a judge to dismiss separate claims against her in the Roethlisberger lawsuit.

The suit accuses Stacy Dingman, who worked as director of hotel operations, and seven other Harrah's employees of conspiring in a cover-up and spreading false information.

Dingman's lawyers argue the lawsuit failed to make any factual allegations against their client and "has unjustifiably dragged Dingman ... into this baseless lawsuit."

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