LINCOLN, Neb. -- An attorney who became the primary contact for investigators as they attempted to contact Maurice Washington beginning last fall, says he didn't represent the University, and he didn't inform them of details of the case against Washington.
The court documents say that attorney Jon Bruning "said he was representing the UNL Athletic Department" when he was told the nature of the case against Washington by an investigator with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.
A separate report from the Nebraska Attorney General's Office said Bruning also told them he was representing the Athletic Department as an attorney, "but if this was a criminal matter, he would probably refer the case to another attorney."
However, Bruning, who's the former Nebraska Attorney General, disputed that Wednesday, telling the Associated Press that he never represented the school as legal counsel and did not share search warrant details with the University last fall.
Court documents also show that Washington did not respond to repeated requests for an interview by law enforcement, made to Washington directly and to Bruning.
Washington is facing charges under California’s revenge porn law, as well as possession of child pornography. He is accused of keeping and sending a video of his ex-girlfriend’s reported sexual assault to her, along with the message “remember this hoe”. The video was taken while the victim was a minor. The case was first reported by NBC Bay Area.
Washington and the victim reportedly dated when he was a freshman at a Santa Clara high school, and the video was recorded in 2016.
The court records obtained by 1011 NOW, show that in early March, 2018, after Washington had moved to Texas, he and the victim began talking once again over Instagram.
According to the records, the victim told Washington she was no longer interested in a romantic relationship with him.
The documents state Washington “became angry and mean”, and on March 2, sent a text message to the victim containing of a video of her being sexually assaulted along with the message “remember this hoe (sic)”.
According to court documents, the sexual assault featured two mutual friends of Washington and the victim. However, Washington did not record the video or take part in the alleged assault.
The records state on August 29, 2018, authorities from the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department reached out to the Nebraska Attorney General to ask for assistance.
The details of the case were provided to an investigator with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office in an attempt to locate and speak with Washington, who was playing football for the Huskers.
The investigator reached out to Washington “several times” to call Washington without success, as well as sent multiple text messages, according to the court records.
The investigator also reached out to the University of Nebraska Lincoln Police Department to try to contact Washington. The investigator was eventually contacted by Jamie Vaughn, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance for the UNL Athletic Department, on September 13th. Vaughn said he had spoken to the UNL football staff, and “they were concerned about him needing a lawyer”. Vaughn indicated to the Attorney General investigator he would attempt to schedule an interview date for the investigator to speak with Washington.
On Sept. 14, the investigator was contacted by attorney Jon Bruning, who indicated he had been contacted by the UNL Athletic Department about Washington. The investigator "informed Mr. Bruning about the nature of the case", and Bruning "indicated he would speak with Maurice and Maurice's coaches and then let Investigator Sexton know if Investigator Sexton would be able to interview Maurice."
Bruning contacted investigators five days later, and said he had briefly spoken to Washington about the case and was told he did “not know what Mr. Bruning was talking about and he was befuddled by it,” court documents state. The investigator again requested an interview with Washington.
According to the documents, on Dec. 14, a California investigator spoke with Bruning, who said he had received copies of the search warrants and would let him know about a possible interview with Washington. He did not respond.
The documents seem to contradict a statement released by the University Monday which read, in part, "Details were not shared and there was no additional follow up with the Nebraska Athletic Department. Recently, we were made aware that charges may be filed against Maurice in California. We have not had a chance to review the charges, and will continue to monitor this ongoing legal process.”
In an interview with NBC Bay Area, the California investigator said he explained to Bruning the charges Washington was facing, adding Bruning questioned whether authorities actually charged cases like this in California.
“He said, ‘When you start out coming at me with felonies, it makes it impossible to want to provide this kid for an interview,’” Haselbach told NBC Bay Area, recounting the conversation with Bruning. “Then he said in their state, ‘we would never charge a felony for something like this.’”
The Nebraska Attorney General also commented on whether their investigator believed Bruning was representing the Athletic Department or Washington, and if details were released from the AG to the university.
'As a result, we would like to make it clear, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office did not reveal any case-specific details, regarding the allegations being investigated by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, with Jamie Vaughn or any other persons employed by the University or Athletic Department. The only thing that was shared with Jamie Vaughn was that we were looking to question Mr. Washington about his possible knowledge about a video recording. With respect to our communications with Mr. Bruning, it was always our impression that he was acting on behalf of Mr. Washington rather than the University."
According to John Ball, Washington’s lawyer, Washington will go to California and surrender to the charges.
"Maurice will have to go to California at some point. Those specific arrangements are still in progress. This will be a self-surrender (voluntary appearance), not an arrest,” the statement said.
Washington played 11 games for the Huskers in 2018, sitting out September 29th against Purdue.