Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illinois completes futile effort

DA reviewing Chargers' Merriman case

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[September 10, 2009]  SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The District Attorney's Office on Wednesday began reviewing accusations of domestic violence that reality TV star Tila Tequila brought against star linebacker Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers.

The DA will review reports from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and decide if the player known as "Lights Out" will be charged.

HardwareMerriman was arrested early Sunday after Tequila accused him of choking and throwing her to the ground while she was trying to leave his home in suburban Poway. Tequila signed a citizen's arrest warrant accusing Merriman of battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.

Spokesman Paul Levikow said the DA's office can charge Merriman, reject the accusations or refer them to the San Diego City Attorney's Office for consideration as misdemeanors.

Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons on MTV. The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila's affections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men's magazines.


Merriman and his attorney, Todd Macaluso, have said they expect him to be vindicated. Merriman issued a statement Sunday denying wrongdoing and saying he was trying to keep Tequila from leaving his home because she appeared to be intoxicated.

"I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedics were called and she was examined but no injuries were reported," Merriman's statement read.

On Tuesday night, Tequila's attorney called Merriman's explanation "spin" and predicted it would be discredited.

"It is never justifiable to brutally assault, choke, strike and imprison a woman," attorney Alan S. Gutman wrote. "Once the truth is fully revealed, Mr. Merriman's fantastic story of how he was trying to keep Ms. Tequila safe will be completely discredited."

Gutman didn't return calls seeking comment Wednesday. Merriman and Macaluso said they had no further comment.

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When Merriman bailed out of jail on Sunday, a court appearance was scheduled for next Tuesday. If no charges are filed, that appearance will be removed from the court calendar, Levikow said. If the DA's office hasn't decided by then, the appearance will be rescheduled.

Merriman is one of the NFL's hardest-hitting players, nicknamed "Lights Out" for his savage hits. There's a tattoo of a light switch on his right forearm that he pretends to flip while doing his spasmodic sack dance.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been getting back into shape after having season-ending knee surgery following the 2008 opener.

The Chargers open the 2009 season Monday night at Oakland.

[Associated Press; By BERNIE WILSON]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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