Report: Federal judge considering sanctions against former MSU staffer Curtis Blackwell for abusing legal system
A federal judge is weighing potential sanctions against former Michigan State staffer Curtis Blackwell for abusing the legal system, according to a report from the Lansing State Journal.
Blackwell, who filed a lawsuit against former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and others employed by the school, potentially abused the legal system when he and his attorneys alleged that Dantonio violated NCAA rules. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens inquired how those claims had any bearing on the legal claim against the former head coach and other staffers mentioned in the lawsuit.
From the Lansing State Journal:
Attorneys for Dantonio argued that monetary sanctions and dismissal of the case are necessary because Blackwell has used the litigation to harm the defendants.
In court filings, Blackwell alleged Dantonio took him to a recruit’s home near Detroit although Blackwell wasn’t designated to make such visits under NCAA rules. Dantonio also helped secure jobs for a recruit’s parents, Blackwell’s attorney Andrew Paterson wrote in the court filings.
“How does that aid your case?” Berens asked.
Dantonio allowed Blackwell’s contract with the university to expire in May 2017, telling him it would not be renewed.
Blackwell filed the lawsuit in November 2018, claiming he was wrongfully arrested and accused of covering up a sexual assault complaint that were filed against three former Michigan State football players. When he was interviewed by police, Blackwell exercised his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself.
Per the report, Blackwell alleges his contract was not renewed because he did not speak to investigators. Berens asked Blackwell if he had any proof that using his Fifth Amendment right was the reason the contract was not renewed.
Dantonio’s attorneys claim Blackwell is using the case to attract media coverage and to tarnish the former head coach’s reputation. Attorneys are also requesting the judge sanction Blackwell and his legal team to over $25,000 and to dismiss the case.