Nebraska vs. Bethune-Cookman, 10/27

Nebraska running back Maurice Washington (28) scores on a second-quarter run against Bethune-Cookman at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 27. 

A former attorney for Nebraska running back Maurice Washington said this week he never told anyone at the university about the nature of potential charges against the player in a "revenge porn" case.

The Nebraska Athletic Department said the same in an emailed statement Thursday afternoon, the day after a judge in California signed an arrest warrant for Washington.

On Thursday, his attorney, John Ball, said: "We expected this, and were prepared for it. I have also specifically confirmed that we will continue to move forward with a self-surrender, meaning that Mr. Washington will not be arrested or extradited, and that he will voluntarily appear in court in California."

He said they still are in the process of determining a time frame for Washington's first court appearance, as well as discussing "possible resolutions."

Washington will remain fully cooperative in this matter, Ball said.

In an emailed statement, the Athletic Department said while it learned Sept. 13 that the Nebraska Attorney General's office wanted to talk to Washington on behalf of law enforcement in California, they didn't have specifics about the allegations until Friday, when a TV reporter in California contacted them. 

Back in September, after getting a call from University Police, football program staff introduced Washington to Jon Bruning, a former Nebraska attorney general who had a long-standing friendship with Matt Davison, associate athletic director for football, and coach Scott Frost. 

The Athletic Department said Ed Sexton, the AG's office investigator trying to talk to Washington, told Jamie Vaughn, executive associate AD for compliance, that Washington wasn't in any trouble in Nebraska. But he wouldn't say if Washington was the subject of the inquiry, or a witness, "or anything related to the nature of why the California agency wished to speak with Washington," the statement said.

Football staff members say they were clear to both Bruning and Washington that Washington had to be treated as a normal client and billed appropriately.

"Coach Frost had subsequent communication with Bruning to determine whether the football program needed to be concerned with the issue or take any action," the statement said.

The Athletic Department said Bruning didn't share the nature of the inquiry due to attorney-client privilege, "but noted it involved a text message from when Washington was in California and he doubted it would result in criminal charges."

This week, Washington was charged in California with a misdemeanor under the state's "revenge porn" law — and with a felony child porn charge — for the 10-second video sent from his phone number to a former girlfriend.

Ball, Washington's attorney, said Thursday: "This is about two young people who were once boyfriend and girlfriend in the eighth grade, and their communications years later. Without all the facts, any judgment of anything in this case is premature, and would be based only on speculation and conjecture."

The investigation in California began in March, after Washington signed with Nebraska in February, and stretched into the fall, after Washington had joined the Husker football team during the second day of preseason camp in August. 

On Aug. 28, Detective Colin Haselbach of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office called Washington's cellphone trying to reach him, but he didn't answer, according to court records obtained by the Journal Star this week.

Haselbach then reached out to the Nebraska AG's office after learning that Washington had started playing football at Nebraska, and on Aug. 29 contacted Sexton to ask for help.

On Sept. 13, Sexton contacted University Police to request Washington's contact information. Later that day, Sexton got a call from Vaughn, saying University Police had informed him of Sexton's interest in talking to Washington.

"Mr. Vaughn spoke to the UNL Football Staff who were concerned about Maurice needing a lawyer," Haselbach said.

He said Vaughn indicated he would try to set up a date for Sexton to speak with Washington. But a day later, Sexton said he got a call from Bruning, who told him he was representing the Athletic Department, according to Sexton's report.

Haselbach said Sexton informed Bruning about the nature of the case, and Bruning agreed to speak with Washington and his coaches, and let Sexton know if he would be able to interview him, according to the documents.

When no interview had been arranged by Dec. 14, Haselbach called Bruning and sent him emails with copies of the search warrants in the case.

Bruning this week said he represented only Washington. In an email to The Associated Press, Bruning wrote, "First, I've never represented the University of Nebraska as legal counsel, and I've never held myself out as doing so. Second, I did not share the search warrant with anyone at the university. My sense is that it was protected by attorney-client privilege."

Bruning added that when he heard last Friday that charges were pending, he referred Washington to Ball, a local criminal defense attorney.

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Eric Olson of The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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