Motion alleges motive for lawsuit

Updated: September 17, 2009, 9:10 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Lawyers for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said in court documents made available Thursday that the woman who has accused him of raping her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino concocted the story, in part, to try to shield herself from possible layoffs at the resort.

Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger

The woman fabricated the rape allegation against the two-time Super Bowl winner to try to prevent Harrah's Lake Tahoe from terminating her after she had taken prolonged bereavement leave, Roethlisberger's lawyers said.

Andrea McNulty, a 31-year-old Harrah's VIP hostess, has said she was hospitalized for several months last fall because of trauma from the alleged July 11, 2008 attack by Roethlisberger.

The quarterback's lawyers have said the woman's emotional collapse had nothing to do with a rape but resulted from a failed relationship with a married man and then a long-distance relationship that turned out to be a hoax.

McNulty filed a civil suit in July, alleging Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in his penthouse suite while he was at Lake Tahoe the previous summer to compete in a celebrity golf tournament. The suit says she was hospitalized for several months because she was traumatized after the alleged attack.

Roethlisberger denies the allegation.

After the woman returned to work in November 2008, she received a reprimand after having an emotional public outburst, Roethlisberger's lawyers said in documents filed in Washoe District Court in Reno.

"Plaintiff realized at this point that her emotional condition would not serve as a shield from possible termination. This realization led plaintiff to concluded that she needed more," lawyers said in the documents.

A telephone message The Associated Press left with the woman's lawyer, Cal Dunlap, Thursday evening wasn't immediately returned.

The filing, made in support of the defense's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, included copies of e-mails from the woman allegedly to the long-distance beau.

"Lots and lots of people getting laid off and lots of downsizing and consolidating departments," she writes in one, dated Aug. 21, 2008. "My 'Yikes' e-mail is in reference to me heading into a meeting to find out whether or not I get to stay. I was given the opportunity to resign with a good severance package but the timing didn't seem right so I passed on it and took the chance that I would not be picked to be laid off."

The woman's suit seeks a minimum $440,000 in damages from Roethlisberger, unspecified punitive damages and at least $50,000 in damages from eight Harrah's officials she accuses of orchestrating a cover-up of the incident.

Her lawyers, however, have offered to settle the civil suit if Roethlisberger admits to the alleged rape, apologizes and gives $100,000 to a nonprofit agency that helps victims of domestic violence.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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