LeSean McCoy’s attorney has history of defending high-profile NFL players

Charles Robinson
NFL columnist

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has hired powerful Atlanta defense attorney Don Samuel and is moving to prepare a public relations defense against accusations that he was involved in the beating and robbery of his ex-girlfriend this week, according to a source who spoke to Yahoo Sports.

McCoy retained Samuel following social media allegations that the NFL player played a part in the assault of ex-girlfriend Delicia Cordon. Cordon’s attorney followed the accusations – which included a photo of a badly beaten Cordon – with thinly veiled suggestions the NFL star had some role in the attack, which took place in a home owned by McCoy. Police were called to the 5,500 square foot home early Tuesday morning, following an assault and robbery at the residence that allegedly targeted Cordon and specific pieces of jewelry she had received as a gift from McCoy. Prior to the assault, McCoy and Cordon had been engaged in a legal battle over her continued residence at the home roughly 40 miles north of Atlanta.

LeSean McCoy, talking to reporters after a game in September of 2017, is taking steps to defend himself amid social media accusations that he played a role in the assault of his ex-girlfriend. (AP)

McCoy denied involvement in the attack Tuesday, posting a statement on Instagram that called the allegations “totally baseless and offensive.” In the midst of the media furor, he retained Samuel, who in legal circles is counted among Atlanta’s elite heavy-hitting defense attorneys.

McCoy isn’t Samuel’s first high-profile NFL client. Samuel was part of the team that defended former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in a double-homicide case in 2000, and was also part of the legal team that represented Pittsburgh Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger in 2010 when the quarterback was facing sexual assault allegations. Other notable clients included rapper TI and Savannah antique dealer Jim Williams, whose murder trial saga became the centerpiece for the best-selling book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

What does this attorney hire mean for McCoy 

Samuel’s hiring is an unambiguous sign that McCoy intends to aggressively defend himself against allegations that have yet to find provable traction. And not just from a legal standpoint. As in the case of Lewis and Roethlisberger, a key component of Samuel’s approach is known to be aggressive on-the-ground investigation, as well as shaping the narrative of events for public consumption.

That already appears to be a pressing issue for McCoy, whose public relations defense comes in the face of a brutal photo of Cordon that went viral on Tuesday – and a statement from Cordon’s attorney Tanya Graham that suggests McCoy’s involvement.

Within that statement: “Cordon returned from a trip to London on July 9, 2018. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on this morning, while she was sleeping in the residence that she shares with Mr. McCoy, Ms. Cordon was physically assaulted in the home by a male assailant who entered the home with no signs of forced entry. The assailant demanded specific items of jewelry that had been previously gifted to Ms. Cordon by Mr. McCoy, which Mr. McCoy had requested back on many occasions. In fact, after Ms. Cordon refused to return her jewelry gifts to Mr. McCoy, he would often suggest to Ms. Cordon that she could be robbed because the jewelry was expensive.”

Attorney Don Samuel is expected to be very aggressive in shaping the narrative involving LeSean McCoy and his ex-girlfriend Delicia Cordon. (AP)

How is the NFL involved?

The NFL has said it is currently probing the allegations, and sources told Yahoo Sports there has been a dialogue between the league’s domestic violence investigators and both the Milton (Ga.) Police Department and Cordon’s attorney. It’s unclear whether Cordon has plans to meet with league investigators, although based on previous cases, it’s likely such a meeting will be requested.

While it’s premature to speculate the direction the league will take, cases involving Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback James Winston are known to have sought electronic communications from the players during the course of the probes. Depending on what league investigators find in the early stages of gathering information, such a request could ultimately be made of McCoy as well.

The NFL has declined to comment on specifics, beyond acknowledging that it is investigating.

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