An attorney representing USC football player Deebo Samuel said his client is “innocent of all allegations” surrounding a weekend assault at a Five Points bar.
Columbia attorney Neal Lourie confirmed he is representing Samuel, who along with teammate Skai Moore and former USC football player Jalen Dread, is accused by others in a report filed with police of an assault at the Five Points Saloon on Harden Street on Saturday.
A news release from Lourie’s law firm Thursday said his office’s investigation has confirmed Samuel’s statement “that he was not present and had no part in the alleged incident.”
Lourie did not immediately return phone calls about what his investigation entailed. The Columbia Police Department said Wednesday investigators had not interviewed the players. CPD also said there is a video of the assault but has not released it. The State newspaper has asked for a copy.
“It’s unfortunate his reputation was tarnished by inaccurate reporting and a rush to publish a story without any independent corroboration,” Lourie said of Samuel in the release. “I hope there will be a retraction with as strong a headline as the initial false report.”
The names of Samuel, Moore and Dread are listed in the complaint provided by the Columbia Police Department after the incident, which happened just before 3 a.m. Saturday.
The agency did not provide answers to a reporter’s inquiries Thursday afternoon.
“The investigator continues to make progress on the case,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said. “We anticipate releasing additional information at an appropriate time” on Friday.
Head football coach Will Muschamp spoke of the incident Thursday night to the York County Gamecock Club.
“I’m glad that Deebo Samuel was, obviously, cleared,” he said. “We need a retracted statement from The State newspaper.”
Muschamp, at the meeting, said he had no further comment on Skai Moore’s alleged involvement.
“We’re still looking through it,” he said
On Wednesday, three days after The State requested a comment from university officials, a USC athletics spokesman called back and declined to comment beyond what Muschamp said.
The 24-year-old victim told officers he approached three men inside the bar after they knocked his phone out of his hand. Police say the verbal altercation quickly escalated when the three began “physically assaulting” the victim, who had visible swelling around his eye.
Employees at the business pulled the men off the victim and escorted them outside, police said. The men were not on scene by the time officers arrived.
Officers wrote in their report that the three men were identified “by the fact that they were each USC football players.” A police spokeswoman said Wednesday it was employees in the bar who identified the men to police as football players.
The general manager of Five Points Saloon said Wednesday he could not comment on the incident, citing the ongoing police investigation.
It was unclear Thursday whether Moore or Dread had retained an attorney.
Staff Writer David Cloninger contributed.