Former Duke player Corey Maggette denies rape claim by Virginia politician’s accuser

Duke’s Krzyzewski on the Corey Maggette allegation

Coach Mike Krzyzewski comments on the allegation against former Blue Devils basketball player Corey Maggette, who has denied a report that he raped a woman when she was a Duke University undergrad 20 years ago.
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Coach Mike Krzyzewski comments on the allegation against former Blue Devils basketball player Corey Maggette, who has denied a report that he raped a woman when she was a Duke University undergrad 20 years ago.

Former Duke University basketball player Corey Maggette has denied raping the woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of assaulting her when she was a Duke undergrad 20 years ago.

Meredith Watson has accused Maggette of raping her while the two were Duke students in 1999, according to a report in The New York Times.

The accusation, first reported by the Times on Monday, cited Facebook messages and a friend of Watson, a 2001 Duke undergrad. The Times also quoted Washington, D.C., attorney R. Stanton Jones, a childhood friend of Watson’s, as saying he remembered Watson telling him Maggette raped her.

Through a spokesman, Maggette denied the accusation to the Times.

It has only been through media accounts and a statement from Meredith Watson’s lawyer that I first learned or heard of anything about these sexual assault allegations,” Maggette said in a statement. “I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge.”

Duke’s Corey Maggette (50) goes to the basket against Maryland’s Obinna Ekezie (54) during the first half of Duke’s 82-64 win Sunday, Jan. 3, 1999, at Cole Field House in College Park, Md.(AP Photo/Nick Wass) NICK WASS AP

Maggette, 39, played one season at Duke in 1998-99, helping the Blue Devils go 37-2 and reach the NCAA tournament final. He turned pro after that season and was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the NBA Draft.

After playing 14 years in the NBA, Maggette retired and is now part of the Los Angeles Clippers television broadcast team on Fox Sports West.

A Fox Sports spokeswoman told The News & Observer via email Tuesday that they are aware of the accusations against Maggette.

FOX Sports takes allegations of misconduct seriously, and we are looking into the matter,” the statement said. “We have no further comment at this time.”

Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said the school is looking into Watson’s claims.

“We are in the process of gathering information to determine what policies and procedures were in place during the time period in which these events are alleged to have occurred, and whether they were activated and followed,” Schoenfeld said in an email to The News & Observer Monday night. “We are not able to provide further information or comment on any individual at this time.”

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Saturday night he had no knowledge of such an event. The school released a statement from athletic director Kevin White Saturday night echoing that comment.

Asked about the latest reports on Tuesday night, Krzyzewski said the university would handle any issues surrounding the accusation.

“The same thing. No knowledge. At that level for that serious of an accusation, it’s always university level. Always. Our university, they’ll handle everything. That’s what should happen. A coach shouldn’t do any of that. I have no knowledge of it. But I’m not the one who’s going to be...Our university should do all of that and rightfully so. That’s the level that needs to handle that.”

Watson’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, released a statement last Friday saying that Watson was raped by a Duke basketball player during her sophomore year and reported it to a dean at the school. Watson said she was discouraged from pursuing the claim further.

Fairfax denied Watson’s allegation of rape in a statement Friday. But he faces calls from many fellow Democrats to resign after Watson’s accusation followed one by Scripps College professor Vanessa Tyson, who accused Fairfax of assaulting her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, as The Washington Post and others reported. On Saturday, Fairfax called for an investigation by the FBI and other authorities, and for due process.

Durham police and Duke campus police departments say they have no records of any reports involving Watson or Maggette. No charges have been filed against Maggette.

There is no statute of limitations on rape in North Carolina.

Though only spending one year at Duke, Maggette was involved in NCAA violations for receiving improper benefits from Kansas City summer league coach Myron Piggie prior to his arrival at Duke.

Maggette initially denied taking payments from Piggie. But in a sworn statement in 2000, Maggette admitted taking the payments. Maggette had been subpoenaed to testify as part of a federal case against Piggie. In 2001, Piggie was sentenced to more than three years in prison on mail and wire fraud and tax charges.

Former Duke basketball player Corey Maggette answers reporters’ questions after working out for the Charlotte Hornets at their training facility in Fort Mill, S.C., Thursday, June 24, 1999. Maggette left Duke after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. (AP Photo/Rick Havner) RICK HAVNER AP

In 2004, the NCAA notified Duke it was not penalizing the school even though Maggette should have been ineligible to play due to receiving the payments from Piggie. Following what it called a lengthy investigation, the NCAA determined that Duke did not know that Maggette’s eligibility had been compromised.

The Sanford School of Public Policy’s Visitors Board at Duke University is asking Fairfax to step down from his role as a member of the board, according to the Duke Chronicle. Fairfax served on the board from 2008 to 2014 and returned in 2015.

Virginia is already reeling from a political scandal since a photo of someone in blackface surfaced on Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page. Northam has denied that he is in the photo.

If Northam steps down, Fairfax is next to line to become governor.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax denied sexual misconduct allegations outside the Virginia statehouse on Feb. 4.

An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.