Dwight Howard Faces Setback as Court Rejects Attempt to Dismiss Stephen Harper's Sexual Assault Lawsuit

The Court has denied Dwight Howard's attempt to dismiss the sexual assault lawsuit by Stephen Harper. A legal battle lies ahead. Get all the details!

Oindrila Chowdhury
Written by Oindrila Chowdhury , Writer
Updated on Feb 24, 2024 | 12:41 AM IST | 132.8K
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Court denies Dwight Howard's plea to dismiss sexual assault case against Stephen Harper.

|Trigger Warning: This article includes references to sexual abuse.|

Disclaimer: If you need support or know someone who is struggling with domestic violence or assault or abuse, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist, or NGO or speak to someone about it. There are several helplines available for the same.

On Thursday, a Gwinnett County judge in Georgia rejected Dwight Howard's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit. Nevertheless, Justin Bailey, Howard's lawyer has expressed confidence in the United States' judicial system. Mr. Bailey also mentioned that they would engage in the discovery process to further support his client's case. 

On the other side, Stephen Harper's attorney, Olga Izmaylova, appreciated the court's decision and showed readiness to prove the client's case. To date, no trial date has been set, and the discovery process is ongoing. Both Stephen Harper and Dwight Howard are gearing up for the legal proceedings that lie ahead.

Dwight Howard x Stephen Harper x Kitty Backstory

In July 2023, a Georgia-based man, Stephen Harper filed a civil lawsuit against Dwight Howard. According to the plaintiff, he and Howard exchanged DMs on Instagram and eventually met in person at Howard's home on July 19, 2021.  

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While Stephen Harper was on his way to the Gwinnett County residence, Howard had texted him and suggested the idea of bringing another person into their planned intimate encounter. However, Harper explicitly conveyed to Howard that he wasn't up for it. 

Once he reached Howard's place, Harper claims that an individual dressed as a woman, known as ‘Kitty,’ joined them. As per Harper, he tried to resist getting involved with the two individuals. Inspite of his denial, Howard and Kitty pressured him into participating in sexual activities. Thus, Harper had accused Howard of a slew of charges charges, including sexual assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Dwight Howard's Counterclaims (October 2023)

In October 2023, former NBA champion, Dwight Howard refuted accusations of sexual assault and battery made by Stephen Harper. The former NBA All-Star countered the Georgia-based man's lawsuit by claiming that the encounter was consensual and outrightly denied any physical or emotional harm. 

Additionally, Howard's legal team sought a summary judgment for the dismissal of the case. Alongside, reimbursement for court costs and attorney fees were also attempted.

 

 


Dwight Howard was selected first overall in the 2004 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic. He enjoyed success with the Orlando Magic and led them to the 2009 NBA Finals. Howard’s other stints in the NBA include the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, and Philadelphia 76ers. 

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After playing with the LA Lakers in 2021–22, he went on to play overseas with the Taiwanese-based Leopards. Howard is an NBA champion, eight-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA Team honoree, five-time All-Defensive Team member, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

 

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