Junior Galette now facing civil suit

The domestic violence charge against New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette was dismissed Thursday, Kenner, Louisiana, city attorney Michael Power confirmed.

"This confirms what we have said from the beginning about Junior Galette's actions and character," said Galette's attorney, Ralph Whalen, who first revealed the decision in a statement.

However, Galette still could face punishment by the NFL if it finds wrongdoing in its own investigation, according to the league's new personal conduct policy. Galette also is facing a civil suit filed earlier Thursday by his accuser, which detailed three years of alleged sexual, physical and mental abuse, including drugging her.

Galette has not been charged with any of the other crimes alleged in the civil suit. He was facing only one misdemeanor count of simple battery involving domestic violence for allegedly injuring the woman while he and an acquaintance tried to forcibly remove her from his home in Kenner on the morning of Jan. 5. The simple battery charge against acquaintance Terrance Banks also was dropped Thursday.

Power said the charges were dropped after assistant city attorney Howat Peters interviewed all five people who were present in Galette's home at the time of the incident, including Galette. Among other reasons, Power said it was determined that the accuser did not live with Galette, as she claimed to police and in her civil suit.

Galette described her as a dancer who spent the night, while the alleged victim repeatedly has claimed to have lived with Galette for at least two years.

The accuser told Kenner police at the time of Galette's arrest that an argument started that morning when she demanded cab money, that Galette pushed her twice, and that Galette and Banks "jumped" her while trying to get her to leave. She said her earring was ripped out of her ear during the struggle, which police noted upon arrival, along with scratches on her face. Both sides agreed that she then briefly grabbed a knife before being removed from the home and that Galette filmed that part of the incident with his phone.

Galette's attorney released a statement at the time saying the player did not commit any domestic violence or battery, that the earring was ripped out by Galette's dog and that four witnesses, including Galette's girlfriend, would corroborate his version of the events.

The alleged victim's attorney, Joe Raspanti, said she will continue to pursue the civil suit, which was filed in state judicial district court in Gretna, Louisiana, regardless of the decision to drop charges.

"We will let the petition speak for itself, but we feel this man is a manipulative predator," Raspanti said earlier Thursday.

Galette's attorney, Whalen, released a statement earlier Thursday describing the civil suit as "filled with lies" and "an outrageous $2 million shakedown." Along with the statement sent to the media was a copy of a letter reputedly sent by Raspanti last month, offering to settle the matter in exchange for $2 million before a suit was filed.

Galette's case will put the NFL's new conduct policy to the test since the league now will have to rely on its own fact-finding to determine any possible punishment -- much like in the circumstances surrounding Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, whose domestic violence case was dismissed earlier this month.

As part of the new policy, players still can be subject to discipline, even if their cases don't result in criminal convictions, if they are found to have engaged in certain conduct. The baseline suspension for first offenses under the NFL's new policy is six games without pay, although the policy says consideration will be given to "any aggravating or mitigating factors."

The NFL has not offered any details into any possible independent investigation so far, other than to say, "We are reviewing the matter." The alleged victim's attorney, Raspanti, noted Thursday that neither he nor his client has been contacted by the NFL, "in the month and a half since Mr. Galette has been arrested for beating her."

The Saints declined comment on the latest accusations from the civil suit. General manager Mickey Loomis has described Galette's arrest as a matter the team is taking "very seriously" while allowing both the legal process and the NFL's investigative process to run their course.

Loomis has said there is no sense of urgency for the Saints to seek that Galette be placed on any type of exempt list -- which also is part of the league's new personal conduct policy -- since football activities don't begin until late April.

However, Galette's contract does call for a guaranteed roster bonus of $12.5 million to be paid out March 12, and the Saints likely would prefer to convert it into a new signing bonus for salary-cap purposes. It's unclear whether that bonus could be affected by any legal issues or league punishments, either before or after it is paid out.