Irvin pleased that authorities won’t file charges |

Irvin pleased that authorities won’t file charges

Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) – An angry Michael Irvin said Friday he was pleased but not surprised that Florida authorities won’t file sexual assault charges against him.

The former Dallas Cowboys star, at times appearing to hold back tears, was speaking publicly for the first time since prosecutors in Florida declined to pursue allegations that emerged in a lawsuit accusing him of rape. A Florida woman filed suit Feb. 4 seeking unspecified damages for a sexual assault that she alleges occurred in July 2007 at a South Florida hotel.

“This has been the very thing I have tried so hard to avoid,” Irvin said during a news conference at his attorney’s office. “I am so pleased that trained investigators concluded that what she claimed occurred never happened.”

Irvin has had previous legal problems, including a no-contest plea to a cocaine possession charge in 1996. Later that year, Irvin and another Cowboys player were accused of sexual assault by a woman, but an investigation determined the story was false and the woman recanted.

Irvin described this latest lawsuit as a “horrific ordeal.”

Attorney Larry Friedman said Irvin didn’t speak until Friday because he had just returned the previous night from two weeks in Australia, where he was hanging out with actor Russell Crowe and his rugby team.

According to the woman’s lawsuit, Irvin got her drunk and took her to his hotel room where he and an unidentified man insisted on sexual favors. The woman claims Irvin raped her and the other man forced her to perform oral sex.

Friedman said Irvin was approached by the woman’s lawyer shortly before appearing on last season’s “Dancing With The Stars” TV show. Irvin was told he must pay the woman $1 million or a lawsuit would be filed to coincide with the Super Bowl, Friedman said.

Friedman has filed a countersuit against the woman claiming civil extortion and defamation. He is seeking $100 million in damages.

Investigators with the Broward State Attorney’s office in Florida said in a report this week that the woman’s story is “replete with contradictions and inconsistencies … that significantly diminish the strength of the evidence.” The report pointed out that she declined to be examined at a sexual assault treatment center, waited 16 days to report the incident and did so only after meeting with three different attorneys.

The report said “it is problematic that she reported the incident to the police only after consultations with civil attorneys.”

The Associated Press does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

Her attorney, David Lister, said his client has passed a polygraph test and challenged Irvin to submit to one.

“My firm would not have gotten involved in this matter if this young lady did not agree to submit to a polygraph examination,” Lister said.

Irvin was fired from his Dallas-Fort Worth ESPN radio show on Feb. 5, the day after the lawsuit was filed. The network said the decision was made before the lawsuit surfaced and pointed to the show’s poor ratings.

Friedman said Irvin may sue ESPN for wrongful termination. An ESPN spokesman declined to comment.