Two days after Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald was accused of assault stemming from a nightclub brawl in Pittsburgh, PA, his lawyer says video surveillance from the incident proves his client’s innocence.
On Wednesday, Todd J. Hollis, an attorney representing De’Vincent Spriggs, filed a criminal complaint with Pittsburgh police alleging Donald and others assaulted his 26-year-old client at an after-hours club the weekend prior. At the time, Hollis also released a close-up photo that showed Spriggs’ swollen face.
On Friday, Donald’s lawyer, Casey White — who said he doesn’t anticipate that Pittsburgh authorities will charge the NFL star — explained his client’s role in the incident by dissecting the newly released surveillance footage.
Donald’s lawyer said Spriggs swung a bottle that grazed Donald’s head while unnamed friends attempted to restrain the seven-time Pro Bowl selection — before Donald began pulling others off Spriggs.
“As he ducks, somebody from behind grabs him to stop him from interacting with this guy, Mr. Spriggs, so he holds Aaron back in a sense,” White told ESPN. “At that point, that’s when other people come to Aaron’s aid and defend him by removing, so to speak, Mr. Spriggs from the area where he is punched and he is fighting; it’s a mutual fight at this point between other individuals who Aaron does not really know.”
White said he’s obtained five witness accounts from the incident,
“Aaron actually runs over to [Spriggs’] aid and starts pulling people off of this guy,” he added. “He’s trying to get these kids off Spriggs; he gets at least two or three people off of Spriggs and at that point in time, somebody grabs Aaron and says, ‘This is not a good situation, let’s get the heck out of here.’”
The incident, according to Spriggs’ attorney, began inside the nightclub when his client accidentally bumped into Donald.
Though, Donald’s attorney said Spriggs dug his elbow into Donald’s back, which Donald initially disregarded and presumed was someone he knew.
“He turned around and it’s this Mr. Spriggs … and Aaron goes, ‘What’s up?’ and Mr. Spriggs starts yelling belligerently, ‘Did I mean to? Did I mean to?’ He keeps repeating, it’s kind of nonsensical, but he keeps yelling, ‘Did I mean to?’ It’s apparent to Aaron and it’s apparent to all the witnesses that [Spriggs] is intoxicated,” White explained.
White said Spriggs was then escorted out of the establishment, where Donald, along with a colleague, encountered him shortly after in a back alleyway near the exit of the bar.
As a result of the fight, Hollis said his client, Spriggs, needed 16 stitches and suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken nose, a concussion and a sprained or broken arm.
The Rams, who selected Donald with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft, are aware of the situation and released a statement notifying that the team is “collecting more information.”