Tequila at odds with Merriman story
LOS ANGELES -- Tila Tequila's attorney on Tuesday called San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman's explanation of an altercation with the reality star that led to his arrest "spin" and predicted it would be discredited.
Attorney Alan S. Gutman said in a statement that Merriman's public comments that he was trying to protect Tequila, who he thought was drunk, amount to another attack on his client.
"Shawne Merriman and his advisors have decided that the best defense is a good offense, attacking Tila Tequila in the press with a lot of calculated spin to cover up his illegal and indefensible actions," Gutman's statement read.
However, society won't tolerate a physical assaulting on a young woman who weighs 93 pounds by an All-Pro linebacker who weighs 270 pounds, he said.
Merriman was arrested early Sunday after Tequila accused him of choking and throwing her while she was at his suburban San Diego home. Tequila signed a citizen's arrest warrant accusing Merriman of battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.
Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons on MTV. The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila's affections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men's magazines.
Prosecutors will have to decide whether to press charges, and Merriman and his attorney, Todd Macaluso, have said they expect him to be vindicated. Macaluso did not immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment Tuesday night.
Merriman issued a statement Sunday denying wrongdoing and saying he was trying to keep Tequila from leaving his home because she appeared to be intoxicated.
"I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedics were called and she was examined but no injuries were reported," Merriman's statement read.
Merriman is one of the NFL's hardest-hitting players and is nicknamed "Lights Out" for his savage hits.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been getting back into shape after having season-ending knee surgery following the 2008 opener.
"It is never justifiable to brutally assault, choke, strike and imprison a woman," Gutman wrote in the statement. "Once the truth is fully revealed, Mr. Merriman's fantastic story of how he was trying to keep Ms. Tequila safe will be completely discredited."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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