NFL's Kamara, Lammons plead not guilty in Vegas assault case
LAS VEGAS (AP) — New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and three other men pleaded not guilty Thursday in Nevada to charges they beat a man unconscious at a Las Vegas Strip nightclub before the NFL’s 2022 Pro Bowl.
Kamara appeared alongside Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chris Lammons and co-defendants Darrin Young and Percy Harris in state court. They could face trial July 31, according to the schedule set by the judge.
The four are each charged with a felony and a misdemeanor for allegedly punching, kicking and stomping on Darnell Greene Jr. of Houston during an altercation outside an elevator.
“Not guilty, your honor,” said Kamara, who played in the league all-star game the day after the alleged attack. Police questioned him after the game and he was arrested Feb. 6, 2022, on suspicion of felony battery resulting in substantial bodily harm. Lammons, Young and Harris were arrested days later.
The felony battery charge could result in one to five years in state prison. Conspiracy to commit battery carries a possible misdemeanor sentence of 364 days in county jail.
Kamara’s attorneys have cast the altercation as self-defense by Kamara and criticized prosecutors for taking the case to a grand jury, where testimony was taken and evidence presented behind closed doors.
Outside the court Thursday, lawyer David Chesnoff said only that Kamara looked forward to trial “and full vindication.”
Attorneys representing Young and Harris declined to comment.
Lammons' attorney, Ross Goodman, acknowledged that Lammons struck Greene, but called it “a measured response” to being pushed or shoved in the nightclub hallway. The lawyer said Lammons, 27, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, then tried to pull the other men away.
Greene was treated for a fracture of the bones around an eye, and reported neck, back, shoulder and knee injuries, according to police and court filings in New Orleans.
“At no point during this attack did Greene hit, punch or push Kamara or any of his associates,” Las Vegas police said in an arrest report.
Police said the incident began when Kamara put his hand on Greene’s chest to stop him from entering an elevator, Greene pushed the football player’s hand away, and a person with Kamara punched Greene.
In the police report, a detective said: “When asked why Kamara punched Greene, Kamara indicated he thought Greene was running away and had done something to his group so he chased and punched Greene several times.”
Greene has a civil lawsuit pending against Kamara in a New Orleans court, seeking at least $10 million in damages.
“Mr. Greene was only trying to get on an elevator and was beaten almost to death,” Greene's attorney in Houston, Tony Buzbee, said in a email Monday. Buzbee said the civil lawsuit is on hold pending the outcome in the Las Vegas case.
Kamara, 27, is one of the top running backs in the NFL. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2017 and was selected for the Pro Bowl in his first five seasons. He finished the 2022 season with almost 1,400 rushing and passing yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.
The Saints on Thursday said the team was closely monitoring the Las Vegas case but declined to comment further.
Lammons has played in the NFL since 2018 for the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. He was claimed off waivers in January by the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.
League officials have said the NFL won’t comment until the case is resolved.
AP sports writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.
Ken Ritter, The Associated Press