Galette lawyer: Alleged female victim was injured by dog

METAIRIE, La. (AP) A lawyer for Saints sack leader Junior Galette said a woman accusing the player of battery had her earring ripped out and was scratched by a dog that was reacting to her yelling.

Galette and his cousin, Terrance Banks of Newark, New Jersey, were arrested Monday after a 22-year-old woman alleged the men assaulted her during an argument at Galette’s home in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner.

In a written statement issued Tuesday, attorney Ralph Whalen said four witnesses, including Galette’s girlfriend, and a video recording all corroborate the player’s version of events.

”We are confident an investigation and a full hearing of the facts will reveal that Junior Galette behaved appropriately given the circumstances and in no way committed domestic violence or battery,” Whalen’s statement said.

New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, who met with reporters Tuesday to review the 2014 season, said the club would take a deliberate approach to dealing with the Galette matter.

”We’re going to take this matter very seriously and we’re going to let law enforcement and the legal process run its course,” Loomis said. ”If at some point we deem it necessary for the club to take some action, we’ll do that.”

Galette’s first court appearance is tentatively set for Feb. 26 in Kenner city court.

On Monday, the alleged victim told police an argument began when Galette asked her to leave and refused to provide cab fare. She told authorities that Galette shoved her, and Galette and Banks pinned her down, making it difficult for her to breathe.

According to police, she said she was able to get up and grab a knife, fearing she’d be attacked again, then Galette began recording her and she put down the knife before being carried out of the house by Banks.

It was not clear from the woman’s statement how her earring was ripped out or her face scratched, but Kenner police said it is their policy to make an arrest when the alleged victim has visible injuries.

Galette and Banks spent much of Monday in jail before bonding out late Monday afternoon.

The woman told police that she had a two-year relationship with Galette, which entailed cooking, cleaning and doing ”everything for him that he wants.”

Whalen said the woman mischaracterized her relationship with the player.

”This was not domestic violence for many reasons including the fact that the woman with the knife is not in a relationship with Mr. Galette nor do they live together,” Whalen’s statement said. ”Also, there was … no battery committed by Mr. Galette.”

Whalen’s statement closed by stressing that Galette ”wants his friends, his fans, his teammates, the Saints organization and the NFL to know that he understands that domestic violence is unacceptable and he supports the league’s efforts to deal with this important issue.”

The arrest placed the Saints’ leading pass-rusher squarely in the sights of the NFL’s new personal conduct policy. Galette could be suspended six games for the alleged offense, depending on the results of an NFL probe, even if Galette is not convicted in court.

Galette, who last September signed a $41.5 million contract through 2019, had a team-high 10 sacks this season.

Meanwhile, as Loomis discussed other team matters Tuesday, he declined to put a timeline on deciding which assistant coaches would remain on Sean Payton’s staff. He was pressed on the future of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, whose unit regressed from fourth in total defense in 2013 to 31st this season.

Loomis also declined to comment on moves already made, such as the firings of tight ends coach Terry Malone and receivers coach Henry Ellard.

”We’re just in the early process of this. We’re looking at every aspect,” Loomis said. ”It’s not just about coaching, it’s not just about a roster. It’s about the personnel department, about everything that we do.”

”We’ve got to look at myself and say, `Hey, what did I do that didn’t work? Why did I do that? How can I do it better?’ Sean needs to do the same thing, and obviously, he and I will have some frank conversations – we already have – about each other,” Loomis added. ”It’s got to start with us before we can get to the rest of the things that we’re doing.”

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