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The NBA and the Kings conclude Luke Walton’s sexual assault investigation due to insufficient evidence

In April, Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton was sued for sexual assault by sportscaster Kelli Tennant, with whom he collaborated on a book entitled “The Transition: Every Athlete’s Guide to Life After Sports.” While that suit is ongoing, the NBA and the Kings on Friday reached a resolution in their own investigation into the matter, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. 

Tennant’s suit is ongoing, but with this ruling, the league will not discipline Walton at this time. As it is a civil suit rather than a criminal suit, there is not a possibility that Walton faces charges for the allegations. He released a statement through the Kings Friday, saying “I am 100% focused on coaching the Sacramento Kings, and energized to work with this incredible group of players and coaches as we start the preseason. I will have no further comment.”

The Kings released a statement as well Friday detailing the investigation, which Tennant elected not to participate in: 

“During the investigation, more than twenty individuals were interviewed, including Coach Walton, and numerous documents and other relevant materials were reviewed. The investigators made repeated attempts to interview Ms. Tennant, but, through her counsel, she declined the opportunity to participate. The investigation is considered closed unless new evidence becomes available.”

The suit is based on an alleged incident in 2014, which she described to ESPN in April. 

“Out of nowhere, he got on top of me and pinned me down to the bed and held my arms down, with all his weight,” she said of Walton. “He kissed my neck and my face and my chest. And as I kept asking him to please stop and to get off, he laughed at me.

I thought he was going to rape me. I was finally able to get up after what felt like forever. And I immediately jumped up to leave the room, and he came around and grabbed me from behind and again held my arms down so I could not move. And started kissing my neck again. I kept begging him to please let go and to please stop. And he continued to laugh in my ear. He finally let me go, and I got out of the room.”

The Los Angeles Lakers quickly issued a statement after the suit was made public saying that they were unaware of the alleged incident. The Golden State Warriors employed Walton at the time of the allegations, and they echoed the Lakers in their own statement while promising to seek more information. 

Walton has publicly denied the allegations, and has said that he will not settle the case out of court. 

There have been no major updates to the story since it first became public in April. Neither Tennant nor his representation have yet responded to the NBA’s decision. Check our CBS affiliate in Sacramento for the latest regarding the investigation.

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