Arrest warrant filed in Nebraska RB Maurice Washington’s revenge-porn case

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There’s been another development in the legal matter involving a playing member of the Nebraska football program.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that California native Maurice Washington is facing charges under that state’s revenge-porn law.  It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than the running back, involving an underage female and two other boys to that same female in early March of 2016.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, an arrest warrant has now been filed for Washington in connection to the case.  The Journal Star writes that “Clarissa Hamilton, the Santa Clara district attorney prosecuting the case, said it could take one to three months for a judge to sign an arrest warrant.” Once that happens, Washington would either be extradited from Nebraska to California or he could turn himself in to authorities.

The DA told the newspaper that the county would have no objection to self-surrender; Washington’s new attorney told the same outlet that his client “would go to California at some point and make a voluntary appearance in the case.”

While Washington didn’t participate in the sex act nor did he record it, he is still facing a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress.  Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.

There’s also some question as to exactly what the NU football program knew about Washington’s situation and when they knew it.

In attempting to contact Washington in late August, the Santa Clara detective investigating the case for the sheriff’s department, Colin Haselbach, spoke to an investigator from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Ed Sexton, on Aug. 29 for help.  Sexton subsequently texted Washington, who, when informed that Sexton was a law enforcement official, failed to reply further.

Two weeks later, Sexton, who in the interim had spoken to university police about the case, received a phone call from Jamie Vaughn, NU’s compliance director, who was made aware of Sexton’s interest in talking to Washington by UNL police. Per Vaughn via Haselbach, the football staff was “concerned about Maurice needing a lawyer” in order to speak to Sexton.

A day after Vaughn and Sexton spoke, “Sexton got a call from former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who said he was representing the Athletic Department,” the newspaper wrote.  Bruning also represented Washington in the case from the middle of September until Feb. 8.

Bruning has denied the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office’s assertion that he was a representative of the NU athletic department. “I’ve never represented the University of Nebraska as legal counsel, and I’ve never held myself out as doing so,” Bruning said in a statement earlier this week.

Bruning has also denied that he shared details of the case with university officials, athletic department or otherwise; in a statement Monday, the Nebraska athletic department also claimed they were not privy to the details of the case.

“We knew that there [were] some questions and things that the folks in California were asking about — but they weren’t specific,” athletic director Bill Moos said during an interview Wednesday as relayed by the Omaha World-Herald. “I was made aware there were inquiries, but they were not specific. …

“[NU] will cooperate with all of this. We’re not trying to get away with anything.”

Washington is now represented by Lincoln criminal defense attorney John Ball, to whom the player was referred by Bruning.

After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of last year.  As a true freshman, and despite the legal clouds hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team.  His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.