An arrest warrant for Nebraska running back Maurice Washington has been signed by a judge in Santa Clara County, California. Washington’s attorney, John C. Ball, was made aware of the warrant Thursday afternoon by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.
Washington is accused of sending a video depicting an alleged sexual assault of his former girlfriend to that girl in March of 2018. Because the video was taken two years prior, while the girl was under the age of 18, and Washington sent the video while legally deemed an adult, he is facing a felony charge of distribution of child pornography as well as a misdemeanor charge under California’s “Revenge Porn” law because he’s accused of sending the video to inflict emotional damage on the victim.
A warrant for Washington’s arrest was sent to a judge in California in December and signed Thursday.
“We expected this, and were prepared for it,” Ball said in a statement to Hail Varsity. “I have also specifically confirmed that we will continue to move forward with a self-surrender, meaning that Mr. Washington will not be arrested or extradited, and that he will voluntarily appear in court in California.”
A timeframe for doing so, Ball said, is still being worked out. A court date does not appear to be set. Ball said Washington remains “fully cooperative in this matter.”
Washington is not being charged in relation to the alleged sexual assault that occurred in 2016, only for a video sent to the victim in March of 2018 before Washington was a student at Nebraska.
Washington enrolled at UNL in the fall of 2018.
On September 13, 2018, the UNL Police Department informed Nebraska’s athletic department that the Nebraska Attorney General's office was seeking to talk to Washington, according to a statement from NU spokesman Keith Mann. At that time, UNLPD provided contact information for Jamie Vaughn, Executive Associate Athletic Director-Compliance, to the Attorney General's office. The police did not know the nature of the inquiry.
That same day, Vaughn spoke with Ed Sexton, an investigator in the Nebraska Attorney General's office. Vaughn was told the Attorney General's office was cooperating with a California agency and that Sexton wished to speak to Washington. Mann says Vaughn was told Washington was not in any trouble in Nebraska, and Sexton would not say if Washington was the subject of the inquiry of the California agency, a witness to a matter being investigated or anything related to the nature of why the California agency wished to speak with Washington.
Vaughn stated he would look into the possibility of arranging for an interview but had no further conversations with the Attorney General's office.
Following department protocol, Vaughn informed Bob Burton, Deputy Athletic Director-Chief of Staff, and Athletic Director Bill Moos of the conversation with the Nebraska Attorney General's office.
At that time, Washington was introduced to Jon Bruning, a former Nebraska Attorney General. Bruning, Mann said, has a “long-standing” friendship with Associate Athletic Director Matt Davison and head football coach Scott Frost that precedes “either’s employment at the University of Nebraska.”
Nebraska Football staff were clear to both Bruning and Washington that Washington had to be treated as a normal client and billed appropriately, Mann said.
“Coach Frost had subsequent communication with Bruning to determine whether the Football program needed to be concerned with the issue or take any action,” Mann said. “Bruning did not share the nature of the inquiry due to attorney-client privilege, but noted it involved a text message from when Washington was in California and he doubted it would result in criminal charges.”
No additional details on this issue were provided to anyone in the Nebraska athletic department until an inquiry on Feb. 8, when Michael Bott, a reporter for NBC Bay Area, contacted UNL.
Bott said, “We will be reporting soon that a University of Nebraska football player is facing felony child pornography charges, as well as misdemeanor charges related to California's 'revenge porn' statute.' Mann said UNL was informed at a later time on Feb. 8 that the football player in question was Washington.
“This was the first time any reference to the nature of these charges was known to University officials,” Mann said.
During an appearance on the Husker Sports Nightly radio show on Wednesday, Moos said the same. That he was unaware of exact details surrounding the investigation into Washington until UNL was contacted by Bott for the NBC Bay Area story.
Bruning is no longer Washington’s attorney. He told the Omaha World-Herald that he referred Washington to Ball, a Lincoln-based criminal defense attorney, upon learning that charges were pending against Washington.
The next step in the matter will be Washington traveling to California to appear before a judge.
“Mr. Washington is presumed to be innocent,” Ball said. “He will address this case in a court of law, relying on rules of evidence and due process.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.