Dwight Howard officially confesses to having consensual sexual activity with a man but has denied all sexual assault and battery allegations.
According to court documents obtained by ESPN, the former NBA player revealed that the activity took place in July 2021, with Stephen Harper at his Georgia home. However, he has denied causing Harper any injury.
Harper, who filed his complaint in July and said that he had begun speaking to Howard via direct messages on Instagram in May 2021. “We fully anticipated Mr. Howard to raise the issue of consent in his answer,” Harper’s lawyer, Olga Izmaylova, said.
He also accused Howard of “intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. “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,” one of Howard’s attorneys, Justin Bailey said. “The allegations against Mr. Howard are contested. Mr. Howard intends to present the truth. The truth is Mr. Howard blocked Mr. Harper on social media and then was confronted with two options — pay to protect his reputation or have a fabricated story made public. Despite being an easy target due to the subject matter and his status as a celebrity, Mr. Howard chose to trust in the justice system and will rely on all future court filings to speak for themselves.”
Harper’s complaint also includes screenshots of their messages and an Uber receipt showing the date he went to Howard’s house the night of the incident. Justin Bailey also added, “This report was made following Mr. Harper being blocked on social media and after the first demand for payment was rejected.”
According to the victim’s attorney, they had an independent investigation conducted before filing the charges.