Dwight Howard denies man’s sexual assault allegations, says it was “consensual encounter”

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A former NBA star from Atlanta is denying sexual assault allegations listed in a civil lawsuit against him. He is now asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Paperwork filed by Dwight Howard appeared in Gwinnett County state court on Monday, according to court documents obtained by Channel 2 Action News.

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In July 2023, a Georgia man filed a state civil lawsuit against Howard on claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment, according to court documents.

The man claims that he and Howard began communicating through Instagram direct messages. The plaintiff said the two of them continue to talk, agreed to meet in person during the offseason and that he went to Howard’s home in Gwinnett County on July 19, 2021.


The plaintiff accuses the former NBA player of sexually assaulting him after he did not agree to his sexual advances. The lawsuit claims that he suffered “severe emotional distress” that will continue through the rest of his life.

Howard and his attorney filed a response this week, describing the encounter as consensual and denied causing any physical or emotional injury, according to the paperwork. The response requests that the lawsuit be dismissed with a summary judgement and for the plaintiff to pay court costs and attorney fees.

ESPN spoke with attorneys for both the plaintiff and Howard.

“We fully anticipated Mr. Howard to raise the issue of consent in his Answer,” Olga Izmaylova told ESPN. The attorney said her client did not consent.

“What was a private consensual encounter was made public for profit and Mr. Howard looks forward to bringing the truth to light in a court of law,” attorney Justin Bailey told ESPN. The attorney added that his client will “rely on all future court filings to speak for themselves.”

Howard grew up in Atlanta and played 18 seasons in the NBA, including one season with his hometown Atlanta Hawks in 2016-2017.

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