Courts & Crime

Michael Irvin sues woman who accused him of rape

MIAMI — NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin fired back Friday against rape accusations with a $100 million lawsuit against his accuser.

Calling her ``morally bankrupt,'' the lawsuit filed in Dallas court alleges the woman is trying to destroy Irvin's reputation as a highly acclaimed sports broadcaster.

It also said she picked this week -- when Irvin was scheduled to be an on-air personality during South Florida's Super Bowl festivities -- to capitalize on the attention.

``This is nothing more than a weak attempt to extort a celebrity with baseless salacious allegations,'' the lawsuit read. Her allegations will cause ``the destruction of an innocent man's hard earned career.''

Irvin's lawsuit was filed the same day he was let go from his radio show which aired on ESPN radio in Dallas.

``His contract was up and the show has not performed,'' ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said in a statement. ``We had previously decided to cancel the show and determined this morning to make it effective today.''

But the NFL Network stood by Irvin, saying he would continue to work for them during the Super Bowl weekend.

A statement issued by the NFL said, ``We are aware that a civil lawsuit was filed. Our security department is looking into the allegations. According to Michael's lawyer, the accusations are `totally untrue.' He will be on-air this weekend.''

It was a whirlwind of developments for the Fort Lauderdale native.

On Thursday, a Broward County woman filed suit in Broward Circuit Court, accusing Irvin of raping her at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino over the July Fourth holiday 2007.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe in her lawsuit, claims Irvin tried to get her drunk, lured her to his hotel room and raped her. Another unidentified man also forced her to perform oral sex that night, she said.

She didn't report the alleged attack for two weeks. Seminole police investigated, but by that time there was no surveillance or forensic evidence. Broward prosecutors have reviewed the case and did their own investigation. A decision on whether to charge Irvin criminally is expected next week.

According to Irvin's lawsuit, the woman's lawyers pushed for five months for Irvin to pay up to $1 million.

In January, the lawsuit alleges, the woman's attorney's threatened to sue during the Super Bowl and destory Irvin's career.

``This is nothing more than a thinly veiled effort to carry out plaintiff's extortion plot, while capitalizing on the media circus that is Super Bowl weekend,'' Irvin's lawsuit said.

The woman's lawyer, David Lister of Weston, declined to comment on the Dallas lawsuit.

As a football player with the University of Miami and the Dallas Cowboys, Irvin was known for big plays and his big personality. Even after his retirement from pro football, Irvin stayed in the spotlight. He had the radio show in Dallas and did broadcasting for the NFL network.

He also had prior legal troubles, including pleading no contest to a cocaine charge in 1996.

Later in that same year, Irvin and a teammate were accused of sexually assaulting a woman. An investigation revealed the woman had made up the story and she soon recanted.