Bombshell Details Regarding Lawsuit Against Bills Punter Emerge

Matt Araiza

Getty Matt Araiza #19 of the Buffalo Bills punts during Bills training camp at Saint John Fisher University on July 24, 2022 in Pittsford, New York.

The Buffalo Bills and their new starting punter, Matt Araiza, are in hot water following a civil lawsuit filed on Thursday, August 25 accusing the rookie and two San Diego State football players of gang raping a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party back in October 2021.

While the lawsuit details a young woman’s account of violence, rape, and sexual assault, no arrests have been made, nor has the San Diego County district attorney’s office determined whether charges should be filed. However, Dan Gilleon, the civil lawyer for the victim, who’s referred to as “Jane Doe” in the complaint, and Araiza’s criminal lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, both dropped major bombshells regarding the case after the Los Angeles Times article was published.

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On Thursday evening, Armstrong, who is not be representing Araiza in the civil suit, appeared on CBS 8 to defend his client. “He is 100% adamant that he never forcibly raped this young lady or forcibly had sex with her in any type of way or had sexual relations with her when she was intoxicated, be it alcohol and/or drugs,” Armstrong said.

Interview: Attorney for former SDSU Aztec, current NFL player Matt Araiza discusses alleged rapeA lawsuit has been filed against three current and former San Diego State University football players, alleging they gang-raped a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party in October 2021. The defendants named in the lawsuit include former Aztecs punter, Matt Araiza, who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills; Zavier Leonard, who is a current member…2022-08-26T01:16:51Z

“She was not visibly intoxicated when he was speaking to her,” Armstrong continues, while also refuting the location of the incident. “This was not Matt Araiza’s residence, [so] that’s in dispute.”

When the reporter asks if Araiza informed the NFL of the investigation before the 2022 NFL Draft, during which the Bills selected his client in the sixth round. “You better believe he did,” Armstrong answered.

However, The Athletic’s Tim Graham tweeted in response to Armstrong’s interview, “But the attorney also says he was hired just six weeks ago, and my sources from multiple teams don’t agree the NFL was aware… That said, there could be semantics in play. Is he saying Araiza’s camp informed the league office (which then didn’t inform all the teams)? Did they inform only teams that interviewed him (Bills met with him at combine at least)? Is someone lying (probably)?… Further, the NFL has rescinded combine invitations for much less.”

Gilleon also disputed Armstrong’s claim. The accuser’s lawyer tweeted on Friday, “The Bills’ attorney Kathryn D’Angelo is a class act. She denied knowing about the allegations. Maybe Bills’ management knew but if @matt_araiza informed them through an attorney he hired 6 weeks ago, I doubt his attorney provided much notice.”

Gilleon countered that the lawsuit is a money grab, as well. “Kerry Armstrong is calling my client’s lawsuit a ‘shakedown’, but he offered money before his client was a Buffalo Bill and we ignored the offer,” he tweeted and shared screenshots of text messages on Twitter to support his statement. He also shared screenshots from what the lawyer tweeted are Jane Doe’s diary at the time of the incident.

The lawsuit states that during the assault, she “stumbled out of the room bloody and crying. Her nose, bellybutton, and ear piercings had been pulled out, and she was also bleeding from her vagina.”

Armstrong told CBS 8, “I think that’s pretty obvious” why the lawsuit was filed on Thursday. Araiza’s “now a member of the Buffalo Bills. He just got on the team two or three days ago and I think this is a money grab on her part. I know that’s probably going to be heavily disputed by her attorney, but deep pockets for someone who is in the NFL and I think she sees some dollar signs at the end of the highway.”

Gilleon tweeted in response, “Why can’t the attorney for @matt_araiza just admit his client had sex with a 17 year old instead of dodging the question? This bush-league t.v. appearance by media hungry lawyer hurt his client. Here’s a tip: sit up in your seat!”

According to, Araiza’s contract has a base salary of $705,000 for the 2022 NFL season, with a $54,037 prorated bonus. The four-year rookie contract is worth approximately $3.8 million.

UPDATE: Later on Friday, Armstrong walked back his comments, telling ESPN that he misunderstood the question from the CBS 8 reporter, and doesn’t know if Araiza told the NFL about the allegations before the draft.

“Apparently I said that, so that was a mistake,” Araiza’s lawyer said. “But he was forthcoming with the Bills, but I don’t think it was until after he was drafted because he didn’t know that this was ever going to go anywhere until the L.A. Times article came out, I think around, whatever it was, five or six weeks ago.”

The Times article Armstrong is referring to was published on June 3, which stated that rape allegations against five Aztec football players had not been investigated by the college. “I don’t know how quickly after that. But it was after that” that Araiza informed the Bills of the situation, according to Armstrong.

The Accuser’s Lawyer Says His Client was Never Contacted By the Bills

Shortly after the Los Angeles Times article was published, WKBW reporter Matthew Bové tweeted the following statement on behalf of the Bills franchise:

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021. Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no other comment at this point.”

After seeing the Bills’ statement, ESPN’s Mina Kimes tweeted, “Incredibly disturbing. The Bills say they “conducted a thorough examination of this matter”–as always, it bears asking what that actually entailed.”

On Friday, Graham offered insight into that question. The Athletic’s reporter tweeted, “Asked if the Bills reached out to him or his client as part of their ‘thorough examination’ of rookie punter Matt Araiza rape allegations, accuser’s attorney @dangilleon tells me, “Absolutely not. Never heard from them again.”

“Gilleon adds his initial contact with the Bills was a long phone call with the team’s assistant general counsel, Kathryn D’Angelo, but Bills never asked anything more or wanted to speak with his client.”

Matt Araiza

Heavy.comThe Bills name Matt Araiza as the team’s starting punter

If the Bills were not aware of the lawsuit before the 2022 NFL Draft, the team was before they cut veteran Matt Haack and named Araiza, a.k.a “The Punt God” as the team’s starter.

ESPN reporter Alaina Getzenberg’s tweeted on Friday, “The team was aware of this when Matt Haack was cut Monday and well before. Jane Doe’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, emailed the team’s representation on July 30. For further clarification, Gilleon initially reached out to the team on July 30 and sent an email with background information the following day. He then spoke with a representative from the Bills the day after that (Aug. 1).”

Will the NFL or the Bills Punish Araiza?

Matt Araiza

GettyMatt Araiza #PK01 of the San Diego State Aztecs speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 5, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Araiza, 22, will not face punishment by the NFL. But the San Diego State alum could face discipline by the Bills franchise.

Analyst Andrew Brandt tweeted on Friday, August 26, “The NFL Personal Conduct Policy does not apply to pre-NFL behavior, no league discipline here. Of course the Bills can always apply the ultimate discipline after researching this if they choose to: they can release him.”

READ NEXT: Former Bills Veteran Signs With New Team 2 Days After Release: Report

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