CRAWFORD | Powell's attorney, Larry Wilder, responds to Pitino's - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Powell's attorney, Larry Wilder, responds to Pitino's New Year's Day remarks

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — After University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino spoke at length about the allegations that former Louisville escort Katina Powell has made about the program, her lawyer responded to some of his comments this afternoon.

Pitino said at a meeting with Indianapolis Business Journal publishing before “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” was published, representatives of IBJ told two U of L officials, when questioned about her journals, that, “No, no, we wrote it. She can’t complete two sentences the right way to write a book.”

Pitino was relating what was told to him. Whether the quote is accurate, or to what it exactly referred -- the book or the journals themselves -- isn’t known. WDRB couldn’t reach officials at IBJ Book Publishing for comment, but Powell’s attorney, Larry Wilder, says those statements are inconsistent with anything the publisher ever has expressed about her in the past.

“I find it difficult to believe that anyone at IBJ would have been as hateful and mean-spirited about Ms. Powell as Coach Pitino has stated,” Wilder said in a text message exchange. “During my meetings with IBJ staff and ownership they have all been very respectful of her and her family. These gratuitous statements are clearly offered as a distraction to the truth.”

It was just the beginning of a 300-word statement from Wilder.

While Pitino cast doubt on Powell’s journals, Wilder said, “The NCAA went through each page of Ms. Powell’s five journals. There were hundreds and hundreds of pages written about a myriad of events going on in her life during those several years that she was involved with Mr. (Andre) McGee providing ‘entertainment’ at the university. It is very clear that the journals weren’t created for the singular purpose of impugning the university. There are a litany of players that have confirmed these events.”

On one thing, Wilder and Pitino agreed. Pitino steadfastly insisted that he had no knowledge of the alleged events in the men’s basketball dorm, and Wilder said he’s seen nothing to contradict that.

“For what it is worth, I have personally seen nothing that would support the conclusion that Coach Pitino had knowledge of the events that were taking place,” Wilder said. “However, I have seen a mountain of evidence that supports the unequivocal conclusion that the events in fact occurred.”

Pitino himself seemed to acknowledge that, to a degree, when he said, referencing McGee, “Did one person do some scurrilous things? I believe so. From what I know now, I believe so. The only thing I don’t know, I don’t know why he did it. I just, for the life of me, can’t figure out.”

Wilder said he feels certain of the same thing.

“Unfortunately, tragically, what Ms. Powell said took place at the university took place,” he said. “I appreciate Coach Pitino’s position. I understand he is hopeful that these things didn’t take place. However, the NCAA will render their opinion when they complete their full investigation and I am confident that their opinion will be reflective of the totality of the evidence and the circumstances. Ms. Powell continues to stand by her journals, her statements and the statements of those who have been interviewed by journalists, investigators and other lawyers. I am certain that the fraternity of ‘U of L basketball’ is as closely knit as any other. However, we have all been recent witnesses to just how far members of the ‘brotherhood’ will go to protect one another.”

Pitino referenced individuals who have come forward to challenge portions of Powell’s book in a lawsuit filed in Louisville.

Wilder filed a response to that lawsuit late last week, asking for a judge to dismiss it.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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