Already facing serious felony charge, Nebraska’s Maurice Washington cited for drug paraphernalia

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Maurice Washington simply can’t keep himself off of the wrong end of a less-than-flattering headline.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Washington was cited early Tuesday on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia.  The citation, issued by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln police officer, stemmed from a call being made reporting the smell of marijuana emanating from inside an on-campus complex. “After narrowing the odor to a particular room, police found Washington and three other people inside,” the Journal Star wrote. “Police searched the room and found a marijuana pipe with residue in it.”

Washington was the only individual in the room who received a citation.

In a very brief statement, a university spokesperson said the football program is “aware of the situation and [is] addressing it.”

This incident is the latest off-field misstep for Washington.

In mid-May, Washington appeared in a California court via phone in connection to charges filed under that state’s revenge-porn law.  A plea hearing in that case is scheduled for June 12.

Appearing in a Santa Clara County (Calif.) courtroom in April, Washington was arraigned on a pair of charges, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor, in connection to a situation whose genesis was a little over a year ago.  In mid-February, a Santa Clara County judge signed a warrant filed a couple of days earlier that sought the arrest of the Nebraska running back for alleged violation of 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 Washington, involving a then-15-year-old female and two other boys, neither of whom was Washington, to that same female in early March of 2018. The female has claimed she is being sexually assaulted in the video, which shows the teenager performing oral sex on one boy while another masturbates.

Washington is 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.

Because of an issue involving Washington’s Lincoln-based attorney not being licensed to practice law in California, the player did not enter a plea during that initial arraignment; the Santa Clara Public Defender’s Office is now serving as Washington’s California counsel.

Scott Frost had confirmed in early March that Washington would be a limited participant in spring practice because of the off-field issue.  In also confirming that Washington will not play in the spring game, the head coach stated that, “[o]verall, I think Maurice has done a good job [this spring] trying to stick to the norm and what practice he has done, he’s looked good.”

“We’re going to sit back and let the process play out and see where it lands,” Frost added of the back’s legal entanglement.

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 off-field cloud 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.