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Howard’s Attorneys Launch Offensive

April 14, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorneys for Washington Wizards forward Juwan Howard, concerned that their client could soon be arrested, launched a counteroffensive Monday night.

The went public with their version of what happened at a party thrown by Howard and teammate Chris Webber.

The players were named in a sexual assault complaint filed by a Connecticut woman after the party April 6 at Howard’s suburban Maryland house. They have not been charged, and the case is scheduled to be turned over to a grand jury on Thursday.

``One of the witnesses interviewed informs us that she was an eyewitness to a sex act between the complaining witness and a person we wish not to name at this time,″ attorney Billy Martin said. ``According to the eyewitness, not only was the sex act consented to by both parties, but the sexual act was initiated by the complaining witness.″

Martin did not say whether the sex act involved either Howard or Webber. He also did not elaborate on the relationship between the players and the woman who filed the complaint, other than to say that ``in addition to friends and associates invited to attend the party, the get-together, several uninvited females made their way into his home.″

Details of the woman’s allegations against Howard and Webber have not been released because the case documents have been sealed.

Martin said he had a list of 18 witnesses he would turn over to the Montgomery County, Md., police department, and he urged the police not to ``rush to judgment.″

``We keep hearing rumors that Montgomery County would like to arrest Juwan, at least on the evidence that they have, so this is a plea to them to complete their investigation,″ Martin said. ``Juwan is a public figure. He’s not going to run anywhere.

``It is our sincere belief that, once they complete their investigation, they will find as we have found, that no criminal act occurred.″

Police would like to interview Webber and Howard, but Martin has refused the request.

``Juwan did nothing illegal,″ said Martin, who stressed he was speaking only for Howard and not Webber. ``As his attorneys, we do not believe it is in his best interests to submit him to police interrogation at this time. We await the outcome of their investigation and we will cooperate.″

A spokesman for Montgomery County police said the department would welcome any new evidence presented by Martin.

``We’re eager to talk to this witness at the earliest convenience,″ Officer Derek Baliles said. ``It’s been our intent from the very beginning to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. ... We appreciate Mr. Martin helping to identify some of the witnesses.″

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