DA dismisses Tila Tequila's claims against Shawne Merriman
Tue, 2009-09-15 09:06 — Bevois
SAN DIEGO -- District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis on Friday dismissed reality TV star Tila Tequila's accusations that San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman choked her and threw her to the ground early Sunday while she was trying to leave his suburban home.
Merriman was arrested after Tequila signed a citizen's arrest warrant accusing Merriman of battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.
Dumanis decided not to charge Merriman after her office spent three days reviewing reports from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
"After a thorough review of the investigation into the Sept. 6, 2009, incident at the Poway home of Shawne Merriman, our office has determined there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed," Dumanis said in a statement. "This case is now closed. No further comment will be made."
Dumanis' statement was released moments after the Chargers concluded practice. Informed by reporters that he wouldn't be charged, Merriman said he couldn't comment until after he'd spoken with his lawyers.
A few hours later, he released a statement that read in part:
"I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's office for carefully reviewing the evidence and not rushing to judgment on these serious allegations. I also appreciate the objectiveness expressed by the San Diego Charges ownership and management, my teammates, my friends and especially all the fans. I look forward to continuing to stay focused on my career goals: a great season of football and the success of the San Diego Chargers."
In a statement, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said: "It's really good news for Shawne. We're happy things worked out for him on the legal front."
Smith didn't return a call seeking further comment.
The Chargers are preparing for their season opener Monday night at Oakland. It will be Merriman's first game back since having knee surgery after the 2008 season opener.
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.
Merriman said he was trying to keep Tequila from leaving his home because she appeared to be intoxicated and denied harming her.
Tequila's attorney, Alan Gutman, called Merriman's explanation "spin" and predicted it would be discredited, saying the 6-foot-4, 265-pound linebacker "brutally" assaulted his client.
Gutman did not return calls seeking comment.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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