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Report: Ole Miss' Robert, Denzel Nkemdiche file counter-claim in assault lawsuit

Denzel Nkemdiche (Thomas Graning/AP)

Ole Miss football players Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche have filed a counter-claim against a man who accused the players of assault in a lawsuit last month, Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.

Last month Matthew Baird filed a $2 million suit against the Nkemdiches, alleging that the brothers took part in an assault against Baird outside of an Ole Miss fraternity house.

Baird filed his claim on Feb. 14, alleging that the Nkemdiche brothers as well as five unnamed individuals beat him while he was unconscious outside of the Kappa Alpha fraternity house on Feb. 17, 2013. Baird alleges that Denzel Nkemdiche first attacked him, then Robert Nkemdiche and the others stomped on his head.

The Nkemdiches are seeking an unspecified amount in the counter-claim and are calling Baird's allegation "untrue and false statements." A portion of the response from the Nkemdiches also calls Baird's original allegations "defamatory."

“Nkemdiche would state and show that he suffered and sustained harm, injuries, damages, and/or losses as a result of the false and defamatory statements made by plaintiff/counter-defendant Matthew Baird and that, therefore, Nkemdiche is entitled to a judgement against (Baird) for compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by the jury.”

Baird filed the original suit in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Feb. 14. The next week, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork offered a statement in support of the Nkemdiches.

"When this alleged incident occurred, the proper authorities investigated the matter and could find no evidence of wrong-doing related to Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche or any other members of our football program," Bjork said. "This is a personal matter for them and we will support Denzel and Robert while they defend themselves in this civil case."
Robert, a defensive end, remains cleared to participate in spring practice. Denzel, a linebacker, is suspended and will miss the team’s season opener against Boise State due to an arrest in February.

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