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Is New York Giants Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. a Victim of Extortion?

A Hollywood event organizer named Ishmael Temple claims injuries he sustained at a California party are the result of beatings from security men on the Giants wide receiver's payroll.

Is New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. a victim of extortion or is he legally responsible for a vicious attack on a Hollywood event organizer named Ishmael Temple that left Temple with chipped front teeth, a busted lip, facial cuts, a scarred ear and a possible traumatic brain injury?

Two dueling lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court are poised to answer this question. On April 12, Temple sued Beckham and Beckham’s associates for negligence, assault, battery, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims. On July 27, Beckham sued Temple, along with his attorney, Emmanuel Nsahlai, for civil extortion.

Tension and violence in a Beverly Hills house

As Temple (through Nsahlai) retells the facts in his complaint, he and Beckham had been good friends for roughly five years. Their friendship began as Beckham, whom the Giants drafted 14th overall in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, was finishing up his college career at Louisiana State University. Their camaraderie continued as Beckham’s NFL career took off. According to Temple, Beckham would routinely invite Temple to his home during the offseason and also hire Temple for social event bookings. The two men, as Temple’s complaint depicts it, “spent countless times and moments together at social events and gatherings.” They have also “partied on unaccountable occasions” and Temple has “numerous photos and videos of himself and Beckham in private settings and just the two of them.”

The sequence of events that led Temple to sue Beckham appears to have begun during the weekend of Jan. 6-7, 2018. Hostility from that weekend carried over to the following weekend and culminated in a violent encounter.

During the Jan. 6-7 weekend, Temple was a guest of Beckham in a Beverly Hills house. Beckham didn’t own this house, which is reportedly owned by a person named Parveen Haque Sikder. Although Beckham’s relationship to the house isn’t certain, he appears to have resided in it during the time in question. This is a relevant point should a court consider whether Beckham was legally responsible for the safety of persons on the premises.

Prior to leaving the house, Temple claims that one of Beckham’s security personnel, a man named Charles Puryear, “verbally assaulted [Temple] as he sought to retrieve his phone he forgot at Beckham’s residence.” Temple contends that Puryear and Talon Thomas—another member of Beckham’s “entourage”—were envious of Temple because of the affection that women showed him. To that end, Puryear and Thomas purportedly “resented” how Temple “knew many of the female ladies present at Beckham’s residence while he was there over the years.” They also didn’t like how  “females usually hugged [Temple], discussed with him and liked him.”

A week later, Temple says he was back at the house as an “invited guest” of Beckham. Before he arrived, Temple claims that Beckham had warned his staff and guests to stop harassing Temple. Beckham, at least as Temple retells history, admonished Puryear, Thomas and others to quit being so jealous of Temple. As it turns out, they didn’t adhere to Beckham’s directive.

Temple’s recollection of his time at the house during the January 13-14 weekend includes his effort to mend fences with Puryear. At around 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 14, Temple found an opportunity to do so. Temple recalls that both he and Puryear were in the kitchen at the time. Temple says he tried to shake Puryear’s hand but that Puryear responded irritably and refused to shake Temple’s hand. The tension quickly escalated. Puryear, Temple says, warned Temple that he and other members of Beckham’s group simply “do not like” him. Puryear attributed their aversion to Temple’s “demeanor” and “the way Temple talks and walks around, and acts with the ladies.”

Then, as Temple tells it, Puryear pulled out a gun and pointed it at Temple. At that point, Puryear ominously warned Temple, “I bet you’ve never gotten shot before. I’m going to give you my first bullet. I’m going to pop you.” Temple recalls feeling “terrified” and walking out of the kitchen. Temple further explains that he alerted Beckham about the incident. Instead of intervening or even feigning concern, Beckham simply laughed at Temple and told him to “relax.”

About 20 minutes later, and as Temple was getting ready to leave Beckham’s house, the exchange turned violent. As retold by Temple, Thomas found an opportunity to punch Temple in the back of the head. Thomas then started to assault Temple, and Puryear quickly joined in. As depicted by Temple, Thomas and Puryear repeatedly pulverized and kicked Temple. A wounded Temple then blacked out for several moments only to awaken to being stomped in the face by multiple persons. Beckham was not one of the attackers.

Adding insult to Temple’s injuries, Beckham allegedly ordered his guards, who are well over six feet and muscular, to throw the 5’9", 185-pound Temple out of the house. According to Nsahlai, Temple by this point was “semi-conscious, oozing blood from his eyes, lips and ear, disoriented, his teeth lay in various parts of the floor” and was wearing a “blood-soaked t-shirt.”

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Injuries give way to a lawsuit

Temple suffered fractures to his upper front teeth and facial cuts and bruises. Health care professionals also treated Temple for a contusion of his left knee, neck strain and a concussion. His complaint indicates that he has incurred about $115,000 in medical expenses, which include dental, psychiatry, neurology and orthopedic costs.

Temple insists that he was, in lasting ways, physically wounded and emotionally traumatized by his experience in Beckham’s house. Temple claims that he now suffers from sleepless nights and incident-caused depression, severe anxiety, heart palpations and feelings of severe emotional distress. Temple further contends that he has been blacklisted in the Hollywood event community and no longer secures NFL player clients. Such alleged professional exclusion has resulted in a “drastic loss of income” for Temple.